After celebrating former Woodbine runner War of Will’s Preakness Stakes victory yesterday at Pimlico, Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse carried his winning momentum into Sunday’s 10-race program at the Toronto oval with a grand slam including the featured $125,000 Queenston Stakes for three-year-olds.
Casse has dominated recent stakes action at Woodbine, sweeping the trifecta in the Fury a week ago and taking the top two spots in Saturday’s Grade 3 Selene with Power Gal and Preferred Guest.
Federal Law and My Silencer gave Casse another 1-2 stakes finish in Sunday’s seven-furlong Queenston for Canadian-foaled sophomores prepping for the Canadian Triple Crown, which begins with the $1 million Queen’s Plate on June 29. The victory was the fourth on the day for Canada’s 10-time Trainer of the Year.
Federal Law trailed the compact field of Queen’s Plate eligibles early on before improving position along the rail and then splitting horses down the stretch in rein to Gary Boulanger. Stewards reviewed that maneuver and ruled no change to the order of finish after he re-rallied to collar late leader My Silencer at the finish line in 1:23.05.
After stalking front-runners Corduroy Road and Souper Success through opening fractions of :22.85 and :45.29, the favoured Casse contender My Silencer took over command in the stretch before being headed in the final strides. Dun Drum, who was shuffled to the back, rallied widest of all to grab third prize just a half-length behind while Souper Success finished fourth and Corduroy Road completed the order of finish.
“That’s racing,” said Boulanger of Federal Law and Souper Success coming in close quarters at the top of the lane. “You’re going to have situations where there’s a little bumping and things that go on and you’re just trying to survive and get through it.”
Bred by the Jim Dandy Stable, Federal Law now sports a record reading 3-3-1 from 10 career starts for owner Qatar Racing Limited.
Federal Law kicked off his career racing in England last year before winning his debut from the Casse stable at Woodbine in early November and subsequently finishing second in the Coronation Futurity behind Avie’s Flatter, the Queen’s Plate Winterbook favourite. Following a start at Turfway Park, he hit the board in last month’s Wando Stakes, won by stablemate Skywire.
“He’s very game. We thought a lot of him,” said Boulanger of the Scat Daddy-Gravelly Bay gelding, who has been assessed as the 4-1 second choice in the Queen’s Plate Winterbook. “Obviously, Mark sent him up to the race at Turfway and he breezed well there. And he breezed well going into the race going long, he just wouldn’t shut off for me going two turns with the blinkers. We discussed it and I said, ‘Well, if you sprint him back, I’d leave the blinkers on.’ And so we went in the sprint and he’s really manageable in traffic going short. He’s got a tremendous turn of foot when he does get some clear sailing.”
Federal Law paid $9.70 to win the Queenston as the 7-2 third choice on the toteboard.
Casse teamed up with jockey Jerome Lermyte to open the Sunday card with back-to-back wins courtesy of Souper Shenanigan ($9.60) and West Paw ($6.30). The duo was also victorious in the seventh race prior to the stakes feature with Wings of Dawn ($6.30).
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes tomorrow with a special Holiday Monday program featuring the Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes. First race post time is set for 1:05 p.m.