Casse entry dominates Pasco Stakes
Oldsmar, FL (Sports Network) - Dynamic Sky overtook stablemate Sky Commander nearing the wire to win Saturday's $100,000 Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. The win is the second straight in the race for owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse.
The Pasco is the first of three stakes conducted at Tampa Bay for Kentucky Derby hopefuls. Coming up in three weeks will be the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes followed by the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9.
The entry of Dynamic Sky and Sky Commander went off in the eight-horse field as the 3-5 favorite. Both horses were racing near the pace being set by Mind Spell with Divine Ambition in second.
Dynamic Sky, ridden by Luis Contreras, was fourth on the final turn as Sky Commander took the lead entering the stretch with Divine Ambition second and Mind Spell in third.
Sky Commander, with Patrick Husbands riding, had the lead at the top of the stretch as his entrymate began a rally down the middle of the track. Dynamic Sky caught the leader yards before the wire and as able to register a three- quarters length victory.
Divine Ambition finished third followed by O T B Bob, Mind Spell, Silver Day, Lightning Stone and Hard to Name. Morning line favorite Purple Egg and Falling Sky were scratched.
Dynamic Sky covered the seven-furlongs in 1:22.79 on a fast track.
"He started his little thing turning for home where he wanted to lay in," Casse said after the Pasco, "but Luis was able to correct him. It was a big race. I was a little disappointed he got a little hot today, which he has to overcome if he is going to be a Derby horse. But it was hot today, so we'll give him a pass.
"Sky Commander is a pretty decent horse, too. The time was definitely respectable, because Luis had nowhere to go and had to take him back and go around horses nearing the stretch. That cost him a little momentum, but he was able to overcome it."
Trainer, owner and jockey won the Pasco in 2012 with Prospective who went on to win the Tampa Bay Derby after a second-place finish in the Sam F. Davis Stakes.
Dynamic Sky picks up $30,000 and notched his second win in five career starts. The colt has banked $248,115.
His 2012 began with a third in the Vandal Stakes at Woodbine and he broke his maiden there by taking the Simcoe Stakes. Dynamic Sky was second in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 6 and closed out his 2-year-old season with a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov, 3.
"He came down with a bug after the Breeders' Cup, and that knocked him off his feed for about a week. Since he's come back, he's had some solid breezes," Casse noted earlier. "You've got to get going soon if you have a Derby horse, and so far it looks like Dynamic Sky possibly is one."
Dynamic Sky returned $3.20, $3.40 and $2.20. Sky Commander paid $3.20, $3.40 and $2.20, and Divine Ambition paid $5.20 to show.
01/12 18:29:37 ET