On Wednesday July 11, final entries were taken for the 77th running of the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, the second jewel of Canada's Triple Crown. A field of nine three-year-olds foaled in Canada made final entry, and post positions were drawn at a special lunchtime event at the Turfside Dining Room at Fort Erie Racetrack. Like its American counterpart, the Preakness, horses will go 1 3/16 miles over the conventional dirt surface at the "border oval". Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds while fillies carry 121. The event took on a somber tone as this is likely the very last running, with Fort Erie slated to shut down for good at the end of the year after the provincial government pulled the track's slots room in April.
The post positions were drawn via the traditional double-blind pill pull system. Canadian jockey Ron Turcotte, famous as the rider of Secretariat, was the honorary drawmaster, randomly pulling the entries out of the box while racing secretary Eric Johnston drew the numbered pills. Turcotte, the first jockey to be awarded the Order of Canada, started his career at Fort Erie, and rode Northern Dancer as a juvenile when he won the 1963 Summer Stakes over the Fort Erie turf. Turcotte said, "The Fort Erie track is a special place for me because in the summer of 1962 I landed my very first winner's circle right here. Secretariat was the boldest horse, the strongest horse, and the fastest horse I've ever ridden. I've seen (the Disney movie), it's, well, it's certainly not a documentary, let's just leave it at that."
Due to his poor performances over the Hastings Park dirt track and the Palm Meadows training track, Queen's Plate winner Strait of Dover will bypass the Prince of Wales and train up to the third jewel of the Triple Crown, the Breeders' Stakes on August 5 over the Woodbine turf. With his defection, the 2nd through 5th place finishers in the Plate have entered.
Woodbine Oaks winner and Queen's Plate runner-up Irish Mission is back against the boys and is the 5-2 morning line favorite out of post 6 for trainer Mark Frostad. Regular rider Alex Solis wlill be in the irons for the Prince of Wales. Frostad said, "It's a perfect draw this time (after drawing the far outside in the Plate). I don't think post position will have a whole lot to do with anything here but I'm happy with it."
Second choice on the board is the second filly in the race, Queen's Plate third place finisher Dixie Strike at 3-1, who was the beaten favorite in the Woodbine Oaks and the winterbook favorite for the Plate. She drew post 4 for trainer Mark Casse. Regular rider Patrick Husbands gets the call on Sunday.
Queen's Plate fourth place finisher Colleen's Sailor drew the outside post 7 and is the 4-1 third choice on the morning line. Regular rider Corey Nakatani retains the mount for trainer Roger Attfield. "The post's good," said Attfield. "I think the only post that nobody really wants is the 1-hole."
The Prince of Wales is scheduled to go at 5:20pm ET on Sunday as the 9th race on the card. The race will be shown on The Score network in Canada from 5:00-6:00pm ET. The full card will also be shown on HPI-TV in Canada and simulcast to many locations across North America. Free past performances for the Prince of Wales Stakes are available from BRISnet (look for Colleen's Sailor).
|1||Classic Bryce||Darwin Banach||Todd Kabel||12-1|
|2||Ultimate Destiny||Mike Keogh||Steven Bahen||8-1|
|3||Dead On||Malcolm Pierce||Emma-Jayne Wilson||10-1|
|4||Dixie Strike||Mark Casse||Patrick Husbands||3-1|
|5||Menlo Castle||Ralph Biamonte||Omar Moreno||15-1|
|6||Irish Mission||Mark Frostad||Alex Solis||5-2|
|7||Run in Aruba||Ralph Biamonte||Jermaine Bridgmohan||20-1|
|8||Quaestior||Ian Howard||Slade Callaghan||8-1|
|9||Colleen’s Sailor||Roger Attfield||Corey Nakatani||4-1|