The first major stop on the Road to the Queen's Plate happens at Woodbine on Sunday in the $164,700 Achievement Stakes. The six-furlong event for three-year-olds foaled in Canada will feature some familiar faces, and some new additions.
The 2001 Sovereign Award 2-year-old champion Rare Friends will begin his sophomore year in the added-money event.
"He's doing well," said trainer Robert Tiller. "He missed one work some 2 1/2 weeks ago. We missed 4 or 5 days of training, we had to patch up a quarter crack. The weight is a concern too. It'll be a challenge carrying 122 pounds against some good winter-raced and trained horses, but we have to start somewhere, why not in the Achievement?"
Facing Rare Friends will be seven challengers including winter-raced Chandra Prakash who won his last two starts at the Fairgrounds, breaking his maiden in February at 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass, and following that with a six furlong victory on the main track in March for trainer Josie Carroll. Jockey Robby Albarado will make the trip north to ride.
The Achievement field includes: Wild Whiskey (Ray Sabour, 115); Shaws Creek (Jake Barton, 119); Nicholle's Devil (Robert Pion, 114); Chandra Prakash (Robby Albarado, 117); Molly's Wisdom (Emile Ramsammy, 118); Anglian Prince - James McKnight, 116); Cree Power (Mickey Walls, 115); and Rare Friends (David Clark, 122)