Family Ties Run Deep In Racing For Hall Of Famer Casse
Friday will be a capstone day for Mark Casse and his family when the trainer is inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in a morning ceremony prior to the afternoon races across the street at Saratoga race course. His son Norman, who was his top assistant before going out on his own, and daughter-in-law and TVG analyst Gabby Gaudet could not be prouder.
“It’s very exciting. I know this has been one of Dad’s biggest goals his entire life so I’m sure he’s nervous and excited and we’re proud to be a part of that,” said Norm Casse.
Mark Casse was elected in 2020 but his induction ceremony, along with the rest of last year’s class, had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the 2020 and 2021 classes will be honored in a combined ceremony, which will be held in the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET
Mark Casse, the 13-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s Outstanding Trainer who became a member of the Canadian Thoroughbred Hall of Fame in 2016, is only the fourth trainer to be a dual member of both Halls of Fame. He joins Horatio Luro, Lucien Laurin, and Roger Attfield.
“That’s pretty good company to be in,” his son said. “Overall, this is an exciting day and it’s a really cool group of people and horses being inducted. It’s a very special moment.”
The 2020 class includes horses Tom Bowling and Wise Dan, jockey Darrel McHargue, and Pillars of the Turf Alice Headley Chandler, J. Keene Daingerfield, Jr., and George Widener, Jr. The 2021 class is comprised of trainers Todd Pletcher and Jack Fisher and 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Norm Casse is a third-generation horseman and the grandson of the late noted horseman Norman Casse. There will likely be a fourth generation as Norm and his wife, Gabby Gaudet, will be welcoming their first child. Fittingly, the baby is due on the 2021 Breeders’ Cup weekend.
“This has all been a whirlwind. There’s no other word to describe it,” said Gaudet, who was a member of the NYRA broadcast team as an on-air reporter and racing analyst before moving on to a similar role with TVG. “It’s been really busy for Norm and for me with all the traveling we’ve both been doing.”
Gaudet also has strong bloodlines in the sport. She’s the daughter of trainers Linda and the late Eddie Gaudet and the sister of trainer Lacey Gaudet. Her family has been a mainstay on the Mid-Atlantic circuit for decades.
“Both of our families are very excited. We’re just lucky that we have so much support behind us,” said Gabby. “Unfortunately, my family won’t be able to come to the ceremony tomorrow as my Mom is stuck in Maryland and my sister is stuck in Delaware. But we will be there supporting Mark and it will be such an exciting day for him. It’s such a big moment. There was so much uncertainty last year and you don’t want a moment like that to fall a little flat. I’m happy they’re incorporating this year and last year’s inductees. This deserves to have its own moment. Luckily, we’ll be here for it.”
Mark Casse will look to capture a unique double on Friday when he follows up on his induction by saddling Easy Time in the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in Race 7 at Saratoga.