If last weekend’s Wonder Where Stakes is any indication, the winner of the Breeders’ Stakes, the third jewel in the Triple Crown of Canadian racing, is right under our handicapping noses.
The Wonder Where is the third jewel of the filly Triple Crown Series in Canada, the Triple Tiara. The winner proved to be a lightly-raced Canadian-bred filly that was knocking at the door in the first two legs.
Either Marketing Mix finally made a decisive move forward after a couple of nice attempts in the Woodbine Oaks and Bison City, or she just loves the turf. It’s anyone’s guess, but most likely a combination of the two factors. For those that could foresee the result and gave her a chance to rise to the occasion, it resulted in a healthy $11 mutuel.
The Wonder Where isn’t a completely isolated event. Any lessons learned have relevance looking ahead to the 1 ½-mile Breeders’ Stakes, a $500,000 turf event. The reason is that it will feature many of the same Canadian-bred horses that have been locking horns in the first two jewels, but at a longer distance and over a different surface.
For many the new conditions will wreak havoc. The distance will be too far and the surface may not suit their stride, conformation or personal taste. For one or two, the stretch out and switch to turf may be all that is necessary to turn translate a third or fourth place finish against the best Canadian-breds into a victory.
When entries are announced Wednesday for Sunday Breeders’, the Wonder Where may be hinting that it is best to look for the colts and geldings that have absorbed previous Triple Crown experience before settling on a new face.
Obviously, there’s Prince of Wales winner Pender Harbour, who enters having competed in both previous legs. He ran a good third in the Queen’s Plate considering it was just his third start of the year. Naturally, his pari-mutuel appeal may be lacking because he enters with a Triple Crown ‘W’ next to his name.
The next logical knocking-at-the-door name would have been Bowman’s Causeway, who was fourth in the Queen’s Plate and second in the Prince of Wales. But he’s not on the nomination list and may be looking in a direction in the United States.
The next best thing might be second in the Plate and fourth in the Prince of Wales – the resume that Hippolytus brings into the Breeders’.
The Mark Casse trainee went into the Prince of Wales as the 2-1 Morning Line favorite, perhaps because it was believed fans would jump on his bandwagon with his strong second in the Plate in the absence of the first jewel’s winner, Alabama Stakes defector Inglorious. This was not the case, as he wound up 9-2 and checked in fourth, well back of the top three finishers who hit the wire basically together.
The Fort Erie strip was conducive to speed and Hippolytus sat second behind clear leader Oh Canada, who stayed on for third. This may not have been the ideal trip for him after settling so nicely in the Plate and rallying to finish second. Prior to the Prince of Wales, Hippolytus had spent his entire career on Woodbine`s Polytrack. Dirt may not have been his thing.
The son of Philanthropist ran so well in the Plate that he deserves another shot to prove that the performance wasn’t a fluke. Like Marketing Mix, his price should be right. If he was 9-2 in the POW off a good performance, he could float back up to 8-1 off a sound defeat.
More later this week, after the Breeders' field is drawn.