The intangibles Mark Casse sees in Catch a Glimpse are giving the newly-minted Canadian Hall of Fame trainer a wicked case of déjà vu.
Physically, the chestnut daughter of City Zip has grown since capturing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland last October. It is between her ears, however, where the maturation is most pronounced.
Her headstrong attitude of old has morphed into an agreeable demeanor. Her already prominent high cruising speed now boasts an extra level of acceleration and tractability.
It is all stuff Casse has seen before, hence his groundswell of goosebumps.
“I think she’s grown up physically a lot, but mentally she’s learning where she’ll rate a little bit. And she’s starting to remind me a lot of Tepin,” Casse said.
There are worse role models Catch a Glimpse could emulate than her Eclipse Award-winning, male-conquering stablemate. Having already teamed up once for victories on the Keeneland turf, the two are back for more this week.
Two days after Canadian Horse of the Year Catch a Glimpse takes on a field of 10 challengers in Thursday’s Grade III, $125,000 Appalachian Stakes going 1 mile on the turf, reigning champion turf female Tepin will aim to stretch her run of domination when she headlines a field of 10 fillies and mares in Saturday’s Grade I, $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes over 1 1/16 miles.
Over the last 12 months, the ladies of the Casse barn have been most adept when the rubber hits the road. Sweet as the 5-year-old daughter of Bernstein is to handle, Robert Masterson’s Tepin has developed into one of the most fearsome horses in training of either gender, winning seven of her last nine starts including her triumph over males by 2¼ lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Mile over the Keeneland turf last Oct. 31.
They’ve kind of stepped up and done well. Tepin, she’s just turned into such a professional. She just amazes me each and every time. One of the things that makes her so good is if they’re going too slow, she can go to the lead and if they’re going too fast she can sit back. I’m seeing a lot of the same things in Catch a Glimpse.
Less than 24 hours before Tepin cemented her eventual status as Casse’s first Eclipse Award champion, Catch a Glimpse became their trainer’s first Breeders’ Cup victor with her triumph in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Both have continued to carry the mantle with handy victories in 2016, becoming the barn cornerstones in a season that has seen their 3-year-old male comrades — thought to be Casse’s strongest bunch at the start of the year — fail to materialize as Kentucky Derby contenders.
“For sure, they’ve kind of stepped up and done well,” Casse said. “Tepin, she’s just turned into such a professional. She just amazes me each and every time. One of the things that makes her so good is if they’re going too slow, she can go to the lead and if they’re going too fast she can sit back. I’m seeing a lot of the same things in Catch a Glimpse.
“Both of them have a high cruising speed and then when you push on the gas pedal, they take off. And I saw that in Catch a Glimpse’s last race as well.”
Unbeaten in four starts on turf with her lone career defeat coming on dirt, Catch a Glimpse executed a textbook stalk-and-pounce trip when she won the Grade III Herecomesthebride Stakes in her season debut at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 27, rating just off an opening half-mile in 49.10 seconds before pulling jockey Florent Geroux up as she pleased on the far turn.
As easily as Tepin won the Grade III Endeavour Stakes going 1 1/16 miles in her 2016 debut Feb. 13, it was her outing in the Grade II Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs a month later that spoke volumes about what her fully mature self is now capable of. Facing a distance of 1 1/8 miles that was not ideal and a front-runner in Isabella Sings who opened up an 18-length advantage at one point, Tepin sat calmly in third under Julien Leparoux before reeling in Isabella Sings with monster strides.
“Julien has been able to get her to relax a little bit more and the way she works, we work her real slow and she comes off the bridle more,” said Norman Casse, top assistant to his father. “Usually to be a really good route horse, that’s what you have to learn how to do. You have to learn how to relax and she’s learned how to relax. The old Tepin would have chased that horse at Tampa. Now, she can sit back and make one run and that makes a big difference.”
The way Tepin has handled added distance this year is what convinced Mark Casse to send her to the Jenny Wiley instead of Friday’s Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile against males. Should she earn her fourth career Grade I win this weekend, a title defense in the Churchill Downs Turf Mile and a trip to Royal Ascot are likely.
About the only thing more the Casse crew could ask of Tepin at this point is to have another one just like her. Catch a Glimpse is doing her part to grant that wish.
“Good horses, you can adjust with them and ... not all of it is luck,” Mark Casse said. “Those good horses allow the rider to position themselves where they want to be positioned and it makes them much easier to handle and makes them more effective. I see that with Tepin and I’m beginning to see that with Catch a Glimpse.”
This week at Keeneland
When: Thursday (4:57 p.m.)
For: 3-year-old fillies
Purse: $125,000 (Grade 3)
Distance: 1 mile (turf)
Favorite: Catch a Glimpse (6-5)
Jenny Wiley Stakes
When: Saturday (5:32 p.m.)
For: Fillies and mares 4 and older
Purse: $350,000 (Grade 1)
Distance: 1 1/16 miles (turf)