Saratoga Springs

Casse, Wise Dan picked for Racing Hall of Fame

Trainer campaigned four Eclipse Award winners; Wise Dan was two-time Horse of the Year
Trainer Mark Casse, right, checks in on Wonder Gadot during the 2018 Saratoga meet.
Trainer Mark Casse, right, checks in on Wonder Gadot during the 2018 Saratoga meet.

Trainer Mark Casse and turf star Wise Dan were named on Wednesday as representatives in the contemporary category for the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame induction class of 2020.

Casse, a Canadian Racing Hall of Fame inductee in 2016, has four Eclipse Award winners on his resume, the mare Tepin, World Approval, Classic Empire and Shamrock Rose, and he solidified his Hall of Fame credentials last year with wins in the Preakness with War of Will and in the Belmont Stakes with Sir Winston.

Wise Dan, trained by Charlie LoPresti, won a total of six Eclipse Awards in a span of two years, Horse of the Year, Male Turf Horse and Older Male in 2012 and 2013.

They were picked from a group of finalists that also included the horses Blind Luck, Game On Dude, Havre de Grace, Kona Gold and Rags to Riches; jockey Corey Nakatani; and trainers Christophe Clement, Doug O’Neill and David Whiteley.

The class of 2020 also includes jockey Darrel McHargue and horse Tom Bowling via the Historic Review Committee, and Pillars of the Turf Alice Headley Chandler, J. Keene Daingerfield Jr. and George D. Widener Jr.

The induction ceremony is tentatively scheduled to be held on Aug. 7 at Fasig-Tipton’s Humphrey S. Finney sales pavilion on East Ave. in Saratoga Springs. A decision on whether that will take place will depend on state and health regulations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Indianapolis native Casse, 59, took out his trainer’s license at the age of 17 in 1979 and through Feb. 22, 2020, had compiled 2,847 victories, including 163 graded stakes, for purses totaling $173,773,664, with which he ranks ninth all-time in North America.

His champions Tepin and World Approval each won the Breeders’ Cup Mile, in 2015 and 2017, respectively, and besides that race, Tepin also defeated males in the Grade I Woodbine Mile at Casse’s long-time hometown track and in the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot in England, both in 2016.

World Approval’s four Grade I victories included the 2017 Fourstardave at Saratoga Race Course.

Classic Empire earned the 2-year-old male championship in 2016 after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and Casse’s other Eclipse Award winner, Shamrock Rose, was named champion female sprinter in 2018.

Casse’s Canadian Horse of the Year winners include Catch a Glimpse, Lexie Lou, Sealy Hill, Uncaptured and Wonder Gadot.

Wise Dan compiled a remarkable 23-2-0 record from 31 career starts from 2010-14 for over $7.5 million in purses.

He was an 11-time Grade I winner who put together a nine-race winning streak from August of 2012, starting with the Fourstardave at Saratoga, to September of 2013, all at least at the Grade II level.

He also won the Fourstardave in 2011 and the Bernard Baruch by a nose in 2014 to keep his three-race record at Saratoga undefeated.

Wise Dan’s only loss in his last 15 career races was a second-place finish in October of 2013, when the Shadwell Turf Mile was rained off the Keeneland turf onto the main track. He came back to win that race in his career finale on Oct. 14, 2014. 

Reach Mike MacAdam at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

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