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2004 Prince of Wales Stakes Results

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Prince of Wales Stakes

A Bit O'Gold wears down Niigon to win the 2004 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie.

Terence Dulay
Updated July 19, 2004
A Bit O'Gold and Niigon entered the 69th running of the Prince of Wales Stakes off a two race rivalry. Last out Niigon came up the winner by 3/4 of a length in the Queen's Plate and the race before A Bit O'Gold won the Plate Trial by 3 1/4. This time A Bit O'Gold won by only a head over his arch rival with the rest of the field over 15 lengths behind them, marking the pair as the two best Canadian breds of their generation.

The main track was sloppy for the 1 3/16th race after passing thunderstorms drenched the track earlier in the afternoon, but thankfully the race was contested under mostly sunny skies. Niigon showed good early speed and made the lead after going past the stands for the first time, leading the procession through half a mile in 47.79 seconds, battling with 19-1 longshot and eventual last place finisher One To Celebrate. Jockey Jono Jones kept A Bit O'Gold off the rail in third early on, conserving energy for the expected stretch duel which would ensue. Turning for home, Jones asked A Bit O'Gold to charge to the front going wide, and the rivals were neck and neck with a furlong to go. Niigon drifted out through the lane, pushing A Bit O'Gold to the four or five path, but it didn't matter, as A Bit O'Gold outfinished him in the final strides and prevailed by a head in 1:57.69 for the 1 3/16 mile distance. Like at the Plate, it was over fifteen lengths back from Niigon to the rest of the field.

Winning jockey Jono Jones said, "My horse fought gamely and caught him this time. I know my horse is a fighter and when he got his head in front I knew he wasn't going to give it up. Obviously he liked the (wet) track." Winning trainer Catherine Day-Phillips said, "He just has a tremendous heart, all of us at the barn and the owners are so proud of him. He just ran a great race today, he was super. He kept digging in and he got there."

There were two additional stakes on the card, both originally scheduled for the turf but moved to the main track due to the recent wet weather. The change of surface resulted in a large number of scratches so both had short fields. The International Turf Cup Stakes, run at 1 1/16th miles on the dirt, was run marred by a passing thunderstorm which was pouring down as the race ran. 2002 Prince of Wales Stakes winner Le Cinquieme Essai notched his first victory of the year here with a 1 1/4 length win over Just Watch me. The Ernie Samuel Memorial Stakes for the fillies was run after this rainstorm and was scratched down to only four horses. Ginger Gold trounced her rivals by 13 lengths to bring her lifetime earning up to $1,043,048 to become Canada's newest racing millionaire.

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