The defection of Sam-Son Farm's Strut the Stage from Sunday's $1.5-million Pattison Canadian International (Can-I) at Woodbine did nothing to diminish the field. Instead it opened the door for a field of 11 talented runners, including two additional Sam-Son runners, Portcullis, and the up-and-coming Shoal Water. Sam-Son Farm has won the Canadian International in 1991 with Sky Classic and the 1997 edition with Chief Bearheart.
"He's a really nice three-year-old and we'll see if he belongs against these ones," said trainer Mark Frostad of Shoal Water, a lifetime winner of three races (seven top-three finishes) from nine starts.
Todd Kabel gets the call on Shoal Water. The veteran rider has been aboard the son of Smart Strike four times, winning twice and never finishing worse than third. To date, Shoal Water's biggest win came in the Saranac Handicap (gr. III) at Saratoga on Sept. 1, a sensational 2 1/4-length score as the favorite in the 1 3/16-mile event.
Portcullis, a seven-time winner from 16 starts, has $651,899 in earnings, including three consecutive stakes victories (Charley Barley, Toronto Cup and Breeders' Stakes) in 2002. Last year, Portcullis finished seventh in the International.
The field for Sunday's $1-million Canadian International (Can-I) includes:
1 -- Sabiango (Eduardo Pedroza, 126, 8-1)
2 -- Gruntled (Frankie Dettori, 126, 20-1)
3 -- Macaw (Shaun Bridgmohan, 126, 20-1)
4 -- Brian Boru (Jamie Spencer, 119, 2-1)
5 -- Phoenix Reach (Martin Dwyer, 119, 6-1)
6 -- Art Variety (Edgar Prado, 126, 20-1)
7 -- Portcullis (Slade Callaghan, 126, 30-1)
8 -- Lunar Soverign (Richard Migliore, 126, 9-2)
9 -- Shoal Water (Todd Kabel, 119, 30-1)
10 -- Bowman Mill (Brice Blanc, 126, 12-1)
11 -- Ballingarry (Mike Smith, 126, 4-1)