|Post Positions - Prince of Wales|
I spent the early afternoon on Wednesday across the Peace Bridge for the Post Position Draw for the 76th running of the Prince of Wales Stakes. The $500,000 race will be held Sunday afternoon at the border oval at 1-3/16 miles on the dirt as seven horses will attempt to grab the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.
As is well documented the Queen's Plate winner, the filly Inglorious has taken a pass in efforts to prepare for a date at the Spa and the Grade I Alabama Stakes in August. However, her jockey Luis Contreras has jumped aboard Pender Harbour, the third place finisher in attempts to pull off a jockey triple.
I caught up with Pender Harbour's trainer Mike DePaulo and he granted me a few moments to discuss his horse's chances on Sunday, as well as the jockey change from Chantal Sutherland to Contreras. "Luis has worked the horse for me, even before the Victoria Park, where the horse ran dynamite. He had some trouble in that race. Chantal rode well, but didn't really know him and left him with too much to do," said DePaulo. "He came out of the race in great shape and he should have no trouble with the dirt and certainly no issue with the distance," DePaulo stated.
I asked him what the strategy on Sunday would be and he replied, "It'll be up to Luis, but I don't see him up there early, he's a stalking type horse, but he'll be closer to the group than in the Plate." He also mentioned that the border oval's long stretch drive should benefit Pender Harbour, "The stretch is longer than Toronto's (Woodbine), which should be to our advantage with a smaller field there should be less trouble.
I'm leaning towards the Philanthropist gelding who went off at odds of 15-1 in the Plate and finished strong. With the red-hot Contreras on board he should be a contender late.
Fellow TBA'er Jennifer Morrison sets the morning line at Fort Erie and establish Hippolytus as the 2-1 morning line favorite. Two Fort Erie jocks have mounts on two Wales horses. Krista Carignan, last year's leading rider at the Fort has the mount on Oh Canada and Emile Ramsammy will ride Oban.
New York Ranger defenseman Dan Girardi, a local from Welland, Ontario served as the Draw Master.
Here are some random shots of the day's festivities...
|Track Announcer Mike Dimoff & NY Ranger Dan Girardi|
|Trainer Mike DePaulo answering questions|
from Channel 4's Paul Peck and Channel 2's
|The Prince of Wales Board (impressive)|
It was a fun day and a bonus that I was able to spend some time with my pal Keith McCalmont who came down from Toronto to cover the event for the Woodbine Media Department. The race should be very competitive and a solid betting race with four horses less than or equal to 4-1 on the morning line.