OLDSMAR, Fla. — Trainer Mark Casse said all systems are go with World Approval, the reigning Eclipse turf champion who will be using the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Stakes on Saturday as a prep for the $6 million Dubai Turf on March 31. John Velazquez has the return mount.
“We’re ready to get him started again,” said Casse.
Among the nine other older turf horses set to face World Approval is Western Reserve, whose 32-year-old trainer, Kent Sweezey, has expanded his stable to about 16 horses since going out on his own in April. Sweezey had four wins and five seconds from his first 18 starters since moving his stable here from Kentucky in late November.
Western Reserve, second in a Jan. 14 turf allowance at Tampa, “has had a race over this course and gets to run out of his home base,” noted Sweezey. “Before we came down here, he’d had to ship everywhere.”
Sweezey said he was pleased with Western Reserve’s Jan. 27 work and Tuesday blowout.
“I feel like we’ve got him sitting on a big race,” he said.