Marylou Whitney's homebred Hard Legacy gave trainer Norm Casse the first graded stakes win of his young career on Saturday night at Churchill Downs, taking the G3 Regret field from gate to wire to triumph by just over a length. The 3-year-old daughter of Hard Spun, ridden by Julien Leparoux, completed nine furlongs over the firm turf in 1:48.22.
Norm Casse is the son of multiple Canadian-champion trainer Mark Casse, and used to work alongside his father with the likes of champions Tepin and Classic Empire.
“Churchill Downs is my home, Louisville is my home, to win my first stakes win here is so special,” Casse said. “I thought today would be the day. Hard Legacy had been training very well, we had Julien up, it was time to get the first stakes win. Hopefully the first of many.”
Hard Legacy and Winter Sunset dueled on the lead into the first turn before Hard Legacy took command of the field of 11 3-year-old fillies through an opening quarter mile in :23.62. Leparoux slowed down the fractions up the backstretch with a half-mile time of :48.06 and six-furlong split of 1:12.94. Winter Sunset re-rallied alongside Hard Legacy at the top of the stretch but could not get by in the late stages of the race.
Hard Legacy returned $13.80, $6.60 and $4.60. Winter Sunset, under jockey Channing Hill, held second to return $5.40 and $3.40. Post-time favorite Varenka, at odds of 9-5, finished third with Javier Castellano in the saddle and returned $2.80.
The field was completed by Belle Laura, Delta's Kingdom, Crafty's Dream, Gamblin Train, Princesa Carolina, Choate Bridge, Hungry Kitten and Fortunate Girl.
The Regret Stakes pays homage to the 1915 Kentucky Derby winner – the first filly to win the race. Regret, who was owned by Harry Payne Whitney, was the father C.V. Whitney, Marylou's deceased husband.
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Hard Legacy is a third-generation homebred and is out of the Kentucky Oaks runner-up Stone Legacy (Birdstone). The filly won her first two starts as a juvenile in 2018, and had come close to placing in graded stakes when fifth and fourth in the G3 Sweetest Chant and G2 Appalachian, respectively. Overall, Hard Legacy owns three wins from five starts and earnings of over $160,000.
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