July 18, 2024

2018 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Transcript

Shamrock Rose and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. are led into the Churchill Downs winner's circle after capturing the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) on November 3, 2018 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Mark Casse
Manfred Conrad

THE MODERATOR: We’re back live on day two of Breeders Cup day and here in the press conference room with us are the winners of the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Shamrock Rose. With us on the left is trainer Mark Casse and on the right is Manfred Conrad of Conrad Farms. Congratulations gentlemen.

And Mark, Shamrock Rose was — this is her first race ever against older competition and she had just run two weeks ago. Tell us about the thought process making the quick turnaround and also clearly a step up in company.

MARK CASSE: Well, about 37 years ago, 36 years ago, I got to spend a lot of time with Alan Jenkins and he always would tell me, I don’t understand trainers, run them when they’re good, give them a rest when they’re running bad. You’ll see where her form tailed off in the spring and I sent her home to our training center and they did a great job of getting her back. And when she came back she has been a terror. I thought her race at Keeneland was exceptional. I thought she came out of it really well. But the man on my left and his wife Penny, I owe it to them, they put up — there wasn’t much said, but she wasn’t a Breeders Cup nomination, so they supplemented her. It was 130,000 for them to run and they had that much faith in me and I appreciate it. And I knew it was a tall task, but she’s an exceptional filly.

THE MODERATOR: Manfred, congratulations.


THE MODERATOR: I believe this is your first Grade 1 win as an owner.

MANFRED CONRAD: I think so. I’m not really that familiar with the Grade 1s. My wife is doing all these things. But I think this is our first one.

THE MODERATOR: Well, tell us about your operation and also tell us how difficult or easy, as the case may be, it was to write that $130,000 check.

MANFRED CONRAD: Well, it’s never easy to write a check like this unless you have a lot of money, but neither here nor there, we had faith in the horse and naturally I listened to Mark and she’s been doing so great the last four races and why not have the fun and the excitement and come here. So if it you lose, you lose. I mean it’s horse racing. That’s what it is. And I really believe the horse is not done yet, in my opinion. She’s just a great horse.

MARK CASSE: That’s when we put up the supplement, which is, it’s a one-time Breeder, so I said so him I said, look she’s three and this is going to be a tall task. But I said, if she stays healthy, we could do this again next year and maybe the year after, and unfortunately I wish his wife Penny was here, because she is the one that has the passion. But unfortunately she’s not feeling well and she’s in Toronto. But I’m thinking she’s feeling a little better right now, Manfred.

MANFRED CONRAD: Oh, yeah, I think she’s feeling much, much better now.

MARK CASSE: Yeah, so this was for her and she is, I guess I’ve trained for you for maybe four or five years, well —

MANFRED CONRAD: Well, I think it’s five years now.

MARK CASSE: Yeah. They have a small operation, but we have been to the Kentucky Derby already. They usually keep, I would say we have about six to seven or 10 every year.

MANFRED CONRAD: Yeah, we have about 20, 30 horses.

MARK CASSE: But every year maybe they add five or six.


THE MODERATOR: Mark, this horse has Pennsylvania connections in couple of ways. She’s a Pennsylvania bred and for the second straight year the winner of this race, the Filly & Mare Sprint, comes in with Presque Isle Downs form showing. Bar of Gold won this race at the very big price last year.

Care to make a hypothesis on whether that’s just a coincidence or is there something about the synthetic surfaces that leg horses up nicely for a demanding race.

MARK CASSE: Yeah, who happens to be — my father’s passed away, and his wife passed away before him and that was her daughter that bred her and they have done an excellent job, they breed a lot of good horses. I don’t know, I think it was probably just luck, but the Pennsylvania breds are doing well. I think the Presque Isle win was a big boost in getting her confidence and I’m a big believer in confidence. So I really don’t know about the Pennsylvania bred. I didn’t buy her because she was Pennsylvania bred, I bought her because I loved her. I thought, I just thought — there was something about her. It was a two-year-old sale?

MANFRED CONRAD: Obviously you picked right.

MARK CASSE: I said the filly I wanted to buy and he always says, okay. So we have done pretty well, right.

MANFRED CONRAD: Oh, yeah. Very well.

THE MODERATOR: Always nice to have agreeable owners.


THE MODERATOR: Questions in the room for either Mark or Manfred? And we have a crowd mike for you to use if you wish to ask.

Q. You got this filly at the OBS April sale. Are you buying most of these horses together as two-year-olds, do you buy yearlings, what’s the program?

MARK CASSE: We kind of, well they breed a few, in fact the horse we ran a couple years ago they bred, they breed about four or five mares a year.

MANFRED CONRAD: Four or five exactly.

MARK CASSE: They have a small farm just outside London, Ontario, and we bought her as a two year old but we also buy, like this year we bought four Canadian bred yearling colts, we’re going to try to win the Queen’s Plate in two years, that’s kind of, that would be a dream for them to come true.

MANFRED CONRAD: That would be nice. But as you know I think this tops everything

MARK CASSE: I would agree. I don’t think it gets much better than that.

MANFRED CONRAD: No, it doesn’t get much better.

Q. One more, Mr. Conrad, what got you into horse racing?

MANFRED CONRAD: My wife has always been interested in horses and we had horses, 30, 40 years ago a couple at home that she road and about 10 years ago I sort of semi-retired and we thought we have, she wanted a hobby besides just being semi-retired, so we got a couple of horses, we signed up with a couple and we would still probably, we would probably be out of the business had it not been that we met Mark and sort of Mark had one or two horses and then we thought, we don’t sell them, we add to them, before you know it you got a quite a stable of horses. But it’s been so much fun, it’s the greatest experience that we have, at our age.

MARK CASSE: We have had a lot of luck.

MANFRED CONRAD: We had a lot.

MARK CASSE: I don’t know how many stakes winners we had.

MANFRED CONRAD: And obviously the trainer must be doing something right here.

MARK CASSE: Well you got to have the people. They never doubt me, they let me do what I want to do and if I see something I want, he usually steps up. Or I should say Penny steps up. She convinces him. I don’t know where the money comes, I just.

MANFRED CONRAD: Sometimes I don’t know either.


Q. Mark, this is your fifth Breeders Cup winner all in the last four years. You won with World Approval last year, is this, of the five, is this one perhaps the most pleasantly surprising?

MARK CASSE: Let me think. Yes. For sure. I knew and I told Irad, I said, look, this filly is going to, this filly is really good, she’s going to give you all she has, I said is it good enough, I’m not sure, and I was staying with Gary Barber prior to the race and I said, I’m not telling you we’re going to win, but if she’s not right there I’m going to be pretty disappointed.

Q. Your filly was dead last early but there were putting up some imposing fractions, did that give you a good feeling first part of the race?

MARK CASSE: I was a little concerned she was dropped back as far, but one thing about it, we have one of the best riders in the world on her and he made a decision, which, after about an eighth of a mile, which made us win the race. If it wasn’t for that, and that was he chose, he knew the only chance of winning was to duck in, save ground and come with a run. Had he stayed out wide, we would have, we wouldn’t be here right now.

THE MODERATOR: Okay. Well, Mark Casse, Manfred Conrad congratulations. Great win by Shamrock Rose in the Filly and Mare Sprint.

MANFRED CONRAD: Thank you so much.

MARK CASSE: Thank you.

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