Mark Casse is used to winning.
This year he collected his third consecutive trainer's title at Woodbine's thoroughbred meet. Last year, he won an unprecedented third consecutive Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding trainer. He has won more races at Woodbine since 2000 than any other trainer.
"It doesn't matter how many times you win it, you still always want to win again," says Casse. "It's funny. We won the Sovereign Award three years in a row and I used to listen to the Yankees and they won the World Series a couple years in a row so why is it such a big deal to win it again. But, that desire never goes away."
This year his biggest win came when 15-1 long shot Gallant won the Prince of Wales Stakes, but it is the one that got away that still makes him smile. "It was kind of fun. One day we lost this stakes race by a short margin and we got home and my son says: 'It's OK dad. It doesn't matter. We've already got that trophy,' " says Casse.
This year he had to get more out of less. "(Gallant) was a long shot and nobody expected him to be any good. Cory Fraser was on him ... local boy. That would be the one race that stood out." But, he didn't have the big stud horse. There was Marchfield, destined for the Breeders Cup but it fractured a hind pastern during a workout in September.
What Casse did have were more entries than any other trainer: Of 435 horses, 200 finished in the top-three earning more than $4.7 million. No other trainer sent even 300 horses to post. "I've heard people mention: 'Well Mark's won more races but he's run a lot more horses.' But the best way to look at it is average per start. We've had twice as many starts as some of the other big trainers but we're winning something like 12 thousand dollars a start. That speaks volumes for the class of horse we're running and for how wonderful Woodbine is.
"What I'm proudest of is the consistency our horses showed. We may not have been winning," says Casse, "but we were always there. As a trainer the biggest compliment you can give another trainer is when you look at a horse in a race and you know that's the one you've got to beat just because a certain guy is the trainer. And, that's what I hope I've accomplished."