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Mark became involved in racing through his father, Norman, a veteran owner, trainer and breeder for over 40 years, and the former chairman of the Ocala Breeders Sales. At age 12 he rode in a horse van with his father to witness Secreatriat capture the 1973 Kentucky Derby and he was hooked from that moment. He took out his trainer's license at age 18 and won his first race in 1979 at Keeneland. Casse has won the Sovereign Award as Canada's top trainer in a record setting three years in a row 2006-2008. He has trained many Sovereign Award winners including Sealy Hill, the only filly to capture the Canadian Filly Triple Crown. He has been the top trainer at Woodbine for over a decade and set a record for most wins in a single meet in Ocotober of 2011 with 90 wins. Top horses include Spring in the Air, Spring Venture, Uncaptured, G-1 Stephen Foster winner Pool Play, Seaside Retreat, Marchfield, Northern Passion, Exciting Story, Top Notch Lady and Prospective.
John C. Oxley
John's winners include Monarchos who was the 2001 Kentucky Derby winner, 1999 Breeders’ Cup Distaff and Eclipse Award winner Beautiful Pleasure, 1995 Kentucky Oaks winner Gal in a Ruckus, and graded stakes winners Sky Mesa, Dancinginherdreams, Northern Passion, Prospective and Dr. Pleasure. His wife Debby is a part of the stable and campaigns horses under her name as well including stakes winner Darling My Darling. In 1962, John founded an oil and gas exploration firm Oxley Petroleum in Tulsa Oklahoma. In 2003, he sold his company and started a smaller scale venture named Oxley Resources, LLC. He is the son of John T. Oxley, a Hall of Fame polo player, and is an active polo player himself. John has been inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame, was a chairman of the U.S. Polo Association, and along with his brother owns the Royal Palm Polo Club in Florida. He is a member of the Jockey Club and a storng advocate for the thoroughbred industry.
The biggest question surrounding Spring in the Air at this point is whether the Spring at Last filly can handle a conventional dirt surface. Her first unplaced effort came on Santa Anita’s dirt in the BC Juvenile Fillies following three runs on synthetic tracks and one turf start.
Spring at Last successfully answered that question himself after competing on Santa Anita’s old synthetic surface in 2007. The 10-year-old would ship to Gulfstream Park to take the Grade 1 Donn Handicap the next year.
Another of Spring at Last’s daughters, fellow Oaks hopeful Seaneen Girl, also triumphed when switching from Woodbine’s Polytrack to Churchill Downs’ conventional dirt in the Grade 2 Golden Rod last November.
Spring in the Air’s dam, the Unbridled mare Unbridled Run, could never find the winner’s circle in seven lifetime starts, but finally found success when foaling Spring in the Air.
Unbridled Run’s half-siblings Tejano Run and More Royal did much better than her while competing. Tejano Run captured a Grade 2 and ran second in the 1995 Kentucky Derby while More Royal won a Grade 2 contest.
Spring in the Air’s female family includes a slew of Grade 1 caliber winners and runners.
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