Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Breeders Stakes.. ..Final Leg of the Canadian Triple Crown


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Being Now Public's track-side pundit has it's advantages.
The biggest one being, that I can post my selections, cold hearted and braggadocios without the risk of losing even a dollar. This is great because my opinions cost me a minimum of $2.00 at the race-track and because I generally have a lot of opinions this could mean risking a whole whack of money.
With that being said tomorrow at Woodbine Racetrack thirteen hopefuls will go to post for the final leg of the Canadian Horse Racing Triple Crown the Breeders Stakes. Eye of the Leopard (Queen's Plate Winner) and Gallant (Prince of Wales Stakes) will headline Woodbine's eighth race on Sunday afternoon well newcomers like Hisaki, Perfect Shower and Full Throttle will look to steal both the spot light and the lions share of the $500, 000 purse.
Keino West, Flip for the Coin and Mr. Foricos Two U join Eye of the Leopard as the only horses in this years Breeders Stakes to have tested all three surfaces that the Canadian Triple has to offer. First it was the synthetic (poly) track at Woodbine for the Queens Plate in early July. After the Queen's Plate, Canadian Triple Crown hopefuls turned their attention to an old fashioned dirt race course at Fort Erie for the Prince of Wales.
Tomorrow afternoon at 4:37est the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Breeders Stakes will be run over the super classy E.P. Taylor turf course at Etobicoke's Woodbine Race Track.
Although the Canadain Triple Crown does not share the same rarefied air as the American version of the same competition, it's easy to see why Woodbine regular like myself and track handicapper Jim Bannon feel that the Canadian Triple Crown is just a difficult to master.

The last time a Candian Horse won the Triple Crown was 03' when Mike Keogh trainee Wando won all three races in the summer series. Before Wando their were three horses in the 90's that managed the feat Izvestia 90', Dance Smartly 91' and Peteski 93'. Compare that to the American version of the same series and the result are clear. No horse has claimed the American Triple Crown since Seattle Slew and Affirmed claimed back to back crown during the late seventies (77', 78')

It would appear, given the facts that the Canadian Triple Crown is much easier to win then it's American counter-part, however recent changes to the main track at Woodbine may put this facts on hold.
On August 30th 2006 Woodbine Racetrack changed it main track from traditional dirt to a synthetic surface know as poly. Poly is made of mostly rubber and is said to be a lot gentler on the equine athletes. This meant that the Queen's Plate which has been run since 1860' over a traditional dirt course would be run over a synthetic surface for the very first time in 2007. Because the Prince of Wales and Breeders Stakes are run over plain old dirt and beautiful flowing grass respectively the addition of a synthetic surface race mean the Canadian Triple Crown is run over three completely different surfaces.
Those unfamiliar with the day to day operation at any North American Racetrack may not understand the significance of running races over three different surfaces
Before Poly there was only dirt and turf, horse who performed well on the turf were no guaranteed to repeat on dirt and like wise for dirt winners. However modern horse racing has new runner, the synthetic run and there is really no guarantee that he/she will be able to repeat their performance on either of the other surfaces. Polytack racers have proven to be an even stronger niche group which tracksiders like myself have dubbed Poly Killers. These horses experience dramatic improvements when switched from dirt/turf course to a synthetic surface.
With that being said I would leave Eye of the Leopard off of my win tickets on Sunday afternoon as he is a clear example of one of those "Poly Killers" I had mentioned earlier. 
My Selection: Reservoir
I must admit this was an easy one. I've had my Breeders Stakes winner picked Eye of the Leopard was parading in the winners circle on Plate Day.
Julia Carey's charge Reservoir did not make the trip to Fort Erie after being the pace setter for this years Queens Plate but that was all by design. Julia has been aiming Reservoir towards the E.P. Taylor turf course, more specifically the Breeders Stakes and that is why Reservoir was given some time away from racing rather then making the trip to Fort Erie for the second leg of the triple crown.
Good Luck
Zoltan Black

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