Breeders' Stakes Draws 10 Sophomores Sunday

Queen's Plate winner Mike Fox and Prince of Wales victor Alezzandro square off as part of a contentious field of 10 Canadian-bred 3-year-olds in the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes at Woodbine Sunday.

The 117th Breeders, at 1 1/2 miles on the turf, is the third and final jewel in Canada's Triple Crown series. It is scheduled to go to post at 5:08 p.m. ET.

The Breeders' field features three horses who have contested the first two jewels -- the 3-1 morning line favorite Alezzandro, 7-2 second choice Mike Fox, and 9-2 third choice Marchfield.

Alezzandro, trained by Kevin Attard and owned by Knob Hill Stable and the Estate of Steve Stavro, put in a strong performance in the Plate in what was just his third lifetime start, losing by a hard-fought half-length.

The son of High Yield turned the tables on Mike Fox at Fort Erie in the Prince of Wales, wiring his rivals in the 1 3/16-mile event. He defeated Jiggs Coz, sidelined for the remainder of the year with an ankle injury, by 1 3/4 lengths. Mike Fox was fourth.

"As a two-year-old, we had him on the turf at Payson (Park in Florida), but nothing serious. I don't think turf should be an issue," said Attard. "He worked well. He seems to have the same kind of stride on dirt and Polytrack as he does on turf.

"I think he's kind of inherited the lead because nobody has really wanted it. I don't think he's a need-the-lead type of horse," continued Attard. "When he broke his maiden he wasn't on the lead. He sat off and made his move."

Mike Fox, trained by Ian Black, is the field's leading purse earner with $775,550. The bay son of Giant's Causeway   has had one turf test in his nine-race career, a third-place finish over yielding terrain in the Cup & Saucer Stakes last October.

"If you watched the Plate, you would think he stayed the 1 1/4 mile better than anyone else," said Black. "I've got no reason to think he won't go another quarter of a mile."

Owned by D. Morgan Firestone, Mike Fox made jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson the first woman rider to win the Plate. Laurie Gulas was the first female rider to win the Breeders', pairing with Free Vacation to win the race in 1999.

Eugene Melnyk's Marchfield, sixth and fifth, respectively in the Plate and Prince of Wales, will race over the grass for the first time after eight previous tries on the main track, five of them on the Toronto oval's Polytrack.

The son of A.P. Indy has one win and four seconds, along with $163,753 in lifetime earnings.

Queen's Plate Winterbook favorite Twilight Meteor, at 6-1, tries the grass for the first time after a seventh-place finish in the Queen's Plate.

Ice Bear (8-1), supplemented to the race, can give conditioner Mac Benson his third Breeders' winner -- and first since 1984 -- when Windfields' Farm filly Bounding Away scored.

The field also includes a pair of Sam-Son Farm runners, the outsiders Walk With Kings (12-1) and Storm the Castle (20-1). It's A Danzig (10-1), and Top Speed (20-1) and It's Like This (30-1) round out the field.

Since the inception of the Triple Crown in 1959, favorites have taken 25 of the 48 runnings of the Breeders' for a 52% average. Favorites have taken 13 of the last 19.

The largest margin of victory since 1959 was by Ben Fab in 1980, a 14-length win. Four editions have been won by a nose, the last by Charlie's Dewan in 1995.

Last year, Stronach Stables' Royal Challenger bested French Beret by a neck.

$500,000 Breeders' Stakes (Race 9, 5:08 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Canadian Breds, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. It's a Danzig (ON), Jesse M. Campbell
2. Mike Fox (ON), Emma-Jayne Wilson
3. Ice Bear (ON), David Clark
4. Twilight Meteor (ON), Christopher P. DeCarlo
5. Walk With Kings (ON), Garry Cruise
6. It's Like This (ON), Tyler Pizarro
7. Storm the Castle (ON), Slade Callaghan
8. Alezzandro (ON), Todd Kabel
9. Top Speed (ON), Robert C. Landry
10. Marchfield (ON), Patrick Husbands
Each assigned 126 pounds.

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