John Oxley's homebred Dream Maker backed up trainer Mark Casse's high hopes in his return to racing action on Saturday afternoon with a stunning 8 1/2-length victory over the Fair Grounds main track and will target the Grade 2, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Fla., on March 9.
The 3-year-old son of Tapit made his sophomore debut at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La., in a first level two-turn allowance event, his first start since a distant and troubled 12th in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last October.
“It was what you hope to see but never expect to see,” Casse said. “I'm just proud of everybody. He got hurt in the Breeders' Futurity so we sent him home to our training center in Ocala and they did a magnificent job. Even when David (assistant trainer David Carroll) got him he couldn't believe he was the same horse. That's the one thing I'm proud of because we have the ability to take them home, get them better and come back.”
A Kentucky homebred, Dream Maker is out of the unraced Monarchos broodmare To Dream About whose dam was Beautiful Pleasure, the champion older filly/mare in 1999 and six-time Grade 1 winner.
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