‘Back To Basics’: Classic Empire Returns To Winding Oaks To Train

by | 08.16.2017 | 12:54pm
Classic Empire with Norm Casse at Pimlico prior to the Preakness

Champion Classic Empire has returned to Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala to continue to prepare for what is hoped to be a start in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 23.

The Daily Racing Form reports that trainer Mark Casse made the decision to ship the son of Pioneerof The Nile back to Ocala on Monday, after the colt “pulled himself up about a sixteenth of a mile into a scheduled workout” over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. According to the Form, Classic Empire was on a van heading back to Winding Oaks by Monday afternoon.

Casse is hoping that the ‘change in scenery' will have a positive effect on the colt, who trained at the farm prior to winning the G1 Arkansas Derby.

“I just figure I got to get him going quick,” Casse told the DRF on Wednesday. “We went back to basics – where we got the Arkansas Derby.”

“He trained good this morning, but his back was sore,” Casse said. “We're taking him back to where we've been successful with him, plus we can monitor his back there a little easier.”

Casse hopes that Classic Empire can get a workout in before the end of this weekend in order to try and make the Pennsylvania Derby.

“We need everything to go right from this point, there's no question,” Casse said. “I haven't given up.”

  • Brent T

    What a clown. If I were the owners I’d send him to the farm for 3-4 months off. It’s obvious he is giving you signs he doesn’t want to run, so do right by the horse and not your own agenda. Would probably help him as a 4y.o. anyhow, it can’t hurt.

    • MaiyaDay

      It’s clear by the refusal to do that, that they’re not planning on running him as a 4YO.

  • MR.DR.

    Here come the ignorant over reactions of “fans” that don’t understand the game……..casse has done a great job…….a trainer’s job is to “manage” a horse and his issues…..i told you all during the spring, that you all over react to these common things……..let the trainers train……relax……

    • Brent T

      Your right, it’s such a non issue that they must ship the horse 1500 miles away to train, because he is refusing where they are now. At least at his farm no one other than his workers will see them wallop the horse to get him going. Good Job

      • MR.DR.

        he is doing what he thinks is right……”managing” the horse………this is nothing new……people were saing he had no shot in the triple crown because he had so many problems……..he is now #1? rated 3 yr old?

        • MR.DR.

          you call the trainer names because he does the right things?

          • Brent T

            Yes, I said the harsh word clown. Which I’m sure the majority would agree under these circumstances.

        • tony

          Where in what mind is a horse that’s 1 for 4 ranked number 1. Give it up Dr nobody on any website think Casse is doing right by this horse

    • McGov

      We can never know what could have been with this horse if he was managed properly…..but one thing is for sure, even a fan can spot gross mismanagement when it is on such a scale as this. This horse was giving signs all along that he needed certain things at certain times and all obvious indications of this were ignored. The decision makers had an agenda and they tried to make the horse fit that agenda.
      Mark Casse is a really good trainer….but I’m guessing too big maybe. If this horse was backed off of at the right times and unwelcome behaviours sorted properly….and injuries permitted to heal further….who knows where that stride would have taken him.
      If Mark had ten horses things would have gone much differently IMO.

      • MR.DR.

        you are wrong……….it takes a year to grow out a hoof……you expect them to do that?…..if you were a horseman, you would know this is not unusual………they horse is being managed great……..skipping races was good……….and right……

        • McGov

          Not quite a year but it does take time. Swimming and taking pressure off of injuries for a few weeks …..patiently assisting earlier in development ..in a meaningful way, the horses anxiety issues….there are many more examples, those couple come to mind quickly..but my point is…..Casse dropped ball on this one IMO but we will never really know how badly. Preakness start was truly out there all things considered.

          • MR.DR.

            the trainer did great……the horse ran great…….after most over reacted to the same stuff in march

          • McGov

            That depends on your perspective. My opinion is the Juvenile champ and Derby choice was never running at more than say….90%….all year…..and he did remarkable despite perpetual adversity and never being completely healthy or settled enough to achieve his maximum capacity.
            A less ambitious plan when things were going sideways early would have produced this horses very best perhaps right now ….AND it would have served the horse better IMO.
            Throw in the fact that this is very obvious and predictable to even casual fan taking a slight glance from his couch in Timbucktoo ;)

          • Michael Castellano

            Horses normally have to be pulled up when healthy as they like to run. They are also confined much too much to stables, so they usually will love to get the chance to run in the fresh air. When a horse pulls himself then, it would seem to be a sign that all is not well. That’s just common sense, don’t need to be a horse trainer to know that. I can’t say what is wrong, but I think the trainer already said his bank was hurting. He is obviously under pressure to race the horse and win a few big races before stud.

          • McGov

            hahahah “bank”….that is likely more accurate than concerns about backs lol ;)

          • Michael Castellano

            A Freudian slip, I guess!

  • Richard C

    — Sign, sign, everywhere a sign —

  • Race fan

    Look on another sight he has an indentation on his vein on the left side of his neck not in the picture above.

    • Lehane

      Not good.

  • Rachel

    His back is sore, so they’ve got to move him somewhere else to get a work in him so he can race in four weeks…got it.

  • Ida Lee

    Oh Boy ….I was going to make a joke but this is reaching a point where I didn’t even smile when I read our young Champ pulled himself up obviously saying “no mas”….darn it….I don’t think Classic’s heart is in it anymore and HIS humans are the only ones who don’t see it ….

    • Jbumi

      At this point I wish they’d give him the rest of the year off, but based on Mr. Casse’s comments that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. 😔

      • ctgreyhound

        If he isn’t in the starting gate at the PA Derby he’ll be retired. That’s the appropriate call.

  • Genellen

    Now that’s he in Florida, maybe CE and Mohaymen should get together and discuss their problems, both mental and physical!

    • Rhett Fincher

      Emotional fitness issues probably. Emotions drive everything else meaning that before a mental process or physical movement, an emotion occurs.

  • dennis mcgarry

    Do what’s right and retire the horse to stud. The horse is signaling every way he can that he is not happy training. What are they going to say if he seriously injures himself further either in a workout, or worse yet in a race

    • Ida Lee

      Bingo Dennis….Classic wouldn’t be the first horse to be retired after only racing as a 2-year-old….and the 2-year-old Champ to boot….it’s pretty obvious, his heart is not in training or racing anymore…..you can take him anywhere you want and give him all the carrots, apples and mints on the planet, but you can’t give him that killer competitive spirit he needs to compete in such a strenuous sport…..just let him start “dating”…..he’s got the looks…he’s got the pedigree….let’s stop stressing him out (not to mention his adoring fans) and let him go ….

      • McGov

        You can’t blame the horse really. He’s described as super intelligent and so I’m sure he is smart enough to realise that running faster with pain equals more pain. Soul sucking experience watching the spirit of a champion diminish before your eyes. Private training centre, out of the fishbowl, is better for everyone. I wouldn’t normally say push to stud but in this case it would seem best maybe. Either that or time off and come back as 4 yr old.

        • Ida Lee

          Agree 100% …. Classic is very bright…you can see it in his eyes….I’ve always had a soft spot for the Juvenile Champs….it breaks my heart that Classic is having so much trouble…..I would prefer he be given some time off from training and start again looking at racing as a 4-year-old….but if he continues showing such little interest, then I can’t see what else can be done but retirement….Thanks for your comment…

          • McGov

            Assuming the issues are hoof and soft tissue soreness in back….and a surplus of anxiety……he can quite easily recover from all things by next spring or late winter. Time and a good equine massage therapist, can do wonders. You can build the spirit back also…..I’d start with the trust issues….and a new understanding of ” I say ouch, you say spa” ;)

        • Lehane

          I doubt that the damage already done to this young horse can be turned around. Have been following Classic, he’s been poorly managed, imo. Don’t get me started on those cruel spurs his exercise rider uses on him. Poor horsemanship.

  • GoodnessMe

    Just cannot make excuses for how this horse is being managed at this point. Has a horse ever screamed louder to a deaf horseman than this one?

  • ben

    It might be better listen to the horse, instead of pushing ,what the owners and trainer are dooing.

    But hey listen, he money for us and surely there is some more.

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