Breeders' Cup International Horse Profile: A Case of You

December 30th, 2021

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

Smart at six furlongs but top-class since shortening up to five, A Case of You captured the Breeders' Cup “Win and You’re In” Prix de l’Abbaye (G1), handing veteran trainer Adrian (“Ado”) McGuinness his first Group 1 victory.

The rags-to-riches colt couldn’t find a buyer as a yearling at the Goffs Sportsman’s Sale, where he was led out unsold for €3,000. The Irish-bred is by young sire Hot Streak, himself a talented sprinter from the male line of Gone West. A Case of You is out of a full sister to a pair of Irish stakes performers who transferred their game stateside – multiple stakes scorer Akanti and multiple Grade/Group 3-placed Lock and Key, runner-up to Cambiocorsa in the 2006 Las Cienegas (G3) at Santa Anita.

Initially owned and trained by John McConnell, A Case of You got his first taste of the racecourse in a barrier trial at Dundalk, a left-handed track, and “won” unofficially. His actual debut as a juvenile came over a mile on Bellewstown’s soft-to-heavy going, where he led for a long way before tiring to third. He promptly won both subsequent starts of 2020 on rain-softened ground. After romping from a close stalking spot over seven furlongs at Down Royal, A Case of You mixed it up on the front and stayed on in the 6 1/2-furlong Anglesey (G3) at the Curragh. He held sway over Ballydoyle’s Lipizzaner, who won a listed stakes next out and finished fourth to Golden Pal in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Clearly a hot prospect, A Case of You was acquired by McGuinness for new owner Gary Devlin. The three-year-old returned Mar. 19 in his new silks at Dundalk, where he dominated a six-furlong Polytrack handicap. The 10-11 favorite made top weight of 136 pounds look like a feather as he readily dismissed a couple of useful rivals.

A Case of You was favored again on the step up to seven furlongs in Leopardstown’s 2000 Guineas Trial, but he disappointed in last behind future classic winner Poetic Flare. He pulled early, gave way in the stretch, and his rider said he hung right.

At any rate, his future lay in the sprint game. A Case of You dropped back in trip and got up just in time in the May 16 Lacken (G3), despite appearing all at sea navigating the Naas topography. He advanced to the Commonwealth Cup (G1) at Royal Ascot, but faded after chasing Campanelle on the heavy ground, threw a shoe, and checked in a remote 11th of 15. A Case of You added a tongue tie and fared better in the Curragh’s Phoenix Sprint (G3), finishing third (missing second in a photo) behind the elder Gustavus Weston.

Understandably a 33-1 longshot when taking his chance in the “Win and You’re In” Flying Five (G1), A Case of You exceeded expectations in his first try at five furlongs. He had a fair amount of ground to make up at halfway, but engaged turbo late to miss by a half-length in second. A Case of You edged defending champion Glass Slippers while orchestrating a dramatic form turnaround with Dragon Symbol, the demoted first-past-the-post from the Commonwealth Cup, as well as with Gustavus Weston.

In the Abbaye on Arc Day, A Case of You again did his best work late in a rousing finish. But this time he forced his nose across the wire first. He was the only one able to catch the speedy 48-1 shot Air de Valse, who opened up and had the rest laboring on the heavy ground. There was a five-length gap back to Glass Slippers in third, and Flying Five winner Romantic Proposal was a non-threatening 10th.

A Case of You enters in career form, with his ceiling to be determined, and his early experience on a turn is a definite plus. Although he’s yet to race on a surface this quick, and most of his form is on softish going, McGuinness told back in May that he “traveled sweet on nice ground” in his work.

One cause for pause is tactical. A Case of You raced about midpack in both five-furlong starts and took some time to build momentum on the straightaway. The Del Mar stretch won’t afford as much time for him to rally. Another question is whether A Case of You can win this as a three-year-old. So far, only Bobby’s Kitten (2014) has defeated elders in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. Perhaps we’ll see a stronger model of A Case of You again in 2022 at Keeneland.