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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Prince of Wales Post Draw Recap

Prince of Wales Post Positions
This afternoon at the Race Office on the backstretch of Fort Erie Racetrack the post position draw for the 78th running of the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes was completed with Uncaptured, the 9-5 favorite drawing the rail. This year's race will take place on Tuesday evening at approximately 7:30 p.m. at the 116-year old race track when eight horses will go 1 3/16-miles on the 8th race of the card.

The event's drawmaster was Sam McComb (pictured above) who won the 1965 edition of the Prince of Wales aboard Good Old Mort (no video available). Mark Casse, similar to his entries in the Queen's Plate, entered four horses and will have half of the field for the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown restricted for 3-year-olds foaled in Canada.

Canada's richest race run on real dirt will feature three horses trained by Casse that are also owned by John C. Oxley. Dynamic Sky (3-1) and the filly, Spring in the Air (4-1) will join Uncaptured as the three Oxley horses in the race. Ironically they drew the first three posts. Casse was tempted to enter Uncaptured in the $1 million Grade 1 Haskell this weekend, but obviously a chance at a $300,000 payday against an easier field appealed more to Casse who will look to sweep the trifecta with his top 3 horses.

His fourth entry, Jagger M has also ran well on the dirt while at Gulfstream this winter and is the fourth choice on the morning line for owner Gabe Grossberg. Casse won last year's Prince of Wales with the filly, Dixie Strike after she finished third in the Plate. Spring in the Air finished third in this year's Plate and will try and duplicate Dixie Strike's path to the Fort's winner's circle. Casse has won the race twice, winning also with Gallant in 2009.

A horse to watch is River Seven, a finalist for 2-year-old colt in last year's Sovereign Awards, the year end awards for Canadian thoroughbreds. Trainer Nick Gonzalez has always seen the potential in River Seven who stumbled at the break in the Plate Trial and could never get it going in the Queen's Plate finishing 10th. He'll be a nice price on Tuesday, his morning line set at 12-1.

Gonzalez told me before the Plate that the son of Johannesburg that "River Seven is a way better horse than Midnight Aria," said Gonzalez, "I've been telling all my friends or whoever will listen that he's the faster horse." Midnight Aria, the winner of this year's Queen's Plate is getting a breather and will be sitting out the Prince of Wales. River Seven fired a bullet on July 21 on the Woodbine dirt training track going 5 furlongs in 1:00 in his first workout after the Plate.

Miguel Mena will come in to ride the talented Uncaptured for Casse and Joel Rosario will make the ride down the Thruway to make his first ever appearance at the border oval. Shaun Bridgmohan will also be making his Fort debut aboard Jagger M. Casse has hinted that a win by Uncaptured in the Prince of Wales could send him eastward to Saratoga for the Travers Stakes later next month.

Four horses in the field have never ran a race on a dirt surface, Rackman, River Seven, Niigon's Glory and Power Phil. 

The two newcomers to the Triple Crown trail are the two outside horses, Niigon's Glory and Power Phil, both of whom skipped the Plate. Power Phil looks like he will be a pace factor as he looks like he may show some early speed. Trainer Robert Tiller, who like Casse has never won a Queen's Plate, has a Prince of Wales win under his belt, winning the 2001 race with Win City.

Niigon's Glory, a son of the 2004 Plate winner, Niigon, races for Chiefswood Stables and trainer Rachel Halden. He has finished second in three straight Ontario-bred allowance races recording three straight matching 69 Beyer figures.

For those wondering about my bridge times today. Over to Canada: 15 minutes; Back to USA: 55 minutes. One of the reasons I always hesitate heading over to the border oval, sometimes it can be a drag waiting on the bridge. Today, I took advantage by handicapping the Saratoga card and listening to the HRTV simulcast on satellite radio, so it wasn't as brutal as usual.

Here are the post positions, trainers, jockeys and odds for the eight horses entered in this year's race:

Prince of Wales Post Positions
PP Horse           Trainer          Jockey        Odds
1 Uncaptured           Casse          Mena           9-5
2 Dynamic Sky        Casse          Rosario           3-1
3 Spring in the Air    Casse          Boulanger   4-1
4 Rackman             Nosowenko  McAleney 30-1
5 River Seven     Gonzalez  da Silva         12-1
6      Jagger M             Casse          Bridgmohan   6-1
7 Niigon's Glory     Halden          Bahen         15-1
8 Power Phil     Tiller          Contreras 12-1



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