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Canada's Triple Crown

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Canada's Triple Crown trophy

Canada's Triple Crown trophy

© Cindy Pierson Dulay

Canada's Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing - The Queen's Plate, The Prince of Wales and The Breeders' Stakes - was inaugurated in 1959 and is restricted to 3-year-old Canadian-breds.

The Queen's Plate, or King's Plate if the reigning monarch is male, is the first race in the Triple Crown series and North America's oldest continuously run horse race. Run at 1 1/4 miles on the main track at Woodbine in Toronto, it currently has a purse of $1 million and is as important to Canadian horsemen as the Kentucky Derby is in America. The main dirt track at Woodbine was converted to a Polytrack synthetic surface in 2006 and the 2007 Queen's Plate was the first run on it.

The Prince of Wales is the second leg in the series and is run at Fort Erie Racetrack near Niagara Falls three weeks after the Queen's Plate. The race is 1 3/16 miles over the main dirt track and currently has a purse of $500,000.

The $500,000 Breeders' Stakes is run three weeks after the Prince of Wales at Woodbine over the turf course and is the longest at 1 1/2 miles. Since the conversion of the main track at Woodbine to Polytrack, this means each of the three races of the Canadian Triple Crown are run over a different type surface.

With not only the changing distances but also surfaces, only the most versatile and strong horses can manage to win all three races and become a Canadian Triple Crown champion. There is a special three-sided gold trophy for the owner of any horse who manages this.

So far, seven 3-year-olds (inlcuding one filly, Dance Smartly) have become Canadian Triple Crown champions:

Five other 3-years-olds came into the Breeders' Stakes after winning the first two legs only to lose there:

  • Almoner (1970), finished second to Mary of Scotland
  • L'Enjoleur (1975), finished third to Momigi
  • Norcliffe (1976), finished fifth to Tiny Tinker
  • Golden Choice (1986), finished third to Carotene
  • Scatter The Gold (2000), finished third to Lodge Hill (view results and photos for his Queen's Plate and Breeders' Stakes)

Queen's Plate Facts
Prince of Wales Stakes Facts
Breeders' Stakes Facts

My coverage of past runnings of the three races - with lots of photos

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