Traffic trouble may have kept Ami's Holiday from victory in the Queen's Plate, and now the runner-up in the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown will take a try at the second leg, the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes on July 29 at Fort Erie.
The 79th edition of the Prince of Wales, featuring 10 Ontario-bred 3-year-olds, will be televised live in Canada on TSN from 7-8 p.m. EDT.
Trained by Josie Carroll for Ivan Dalos, 3-year-old homebred Ami's Holiday cut to the rail after getting in tight at the head of the stretch in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate on the all-weather track at Woodbine. It's debatable whether he could have caught the dominant winning filly Lexie Lou, but he finished gamely to wind up 1 1/2 lengths behind.
Stuck with the far outside post in a field of 15 in the Queen's Plate, he leaves post 2 as the 9-5 favorite under Luis Contreras in the Prince of Wales.
"He always breaks sharp and settles into a good position early," Contreras said. "We'll try to find our spot and hope for a clean trip."
The 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales is run on dirt at Fort Erie and will be the first start on the surface for Ami's Holiday. The Harlan's Holiday colt won the Grey Stakes (Can-III) as a 2-year-old at Woodbine and has raced only on the all-weather surface there, aside from a fourth this spring in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III) on the Keeneland Polytrack.
Ami's Holiday traveled down to Fort Erie to gallop over the surface the weekend of July 19-20. He breezed five furlongs in 1:01 over Woodbine's main track July 23 in his final prep for the Prince of Wales.
"He's been doing everything right," Contreras added. "His fitness is excellent, he's confident and I'm looking forward to the race. We'll see how he handles the dirt, but he has raced behind horses on the 'Poly' so I don't think he will mind having a bit of dirt in his face."
The Prince of Wales is the only dirt event in the Canadian Triple Crown and is followed by the Aug. 17 Breeders' Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile test over Woodbine's E.P. Taylor turf course. All runners carry 126 pounds.
Matador, trained by Plate-winning conditioner Mark Casse for John Oxley, has been installed as the 3-1 second choice. The bay son of Malibu Moon took part in a series of U.S. Triple Crown prep races over the winter, finishing fourth in the Sam F. Davis (gr. III); fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II); and sixth in the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I).
On his return to Woodbine, Matador romped in a 1 1/16-miles allowance test by six lengths before finishing seventh in the Queen's Plate. Patrick Husbands, who guided Lexie Lou to victory in the Plate, will take over from Julien Leparoux aboard Matador.
Also exiting the Queen's Plate are allowance winners Lions Bay (sixth) and Coltimus Prime (ninth). Lions Bay, a son of Sligo Bay trained by Jamie Attard, put in a good effort last time out despite stumbling in the first few strides out of the gate and bending his shoe. Coltimus Prime, a dark bay son of Milwaukee Brew trained by Fort Erie local Justin Nixon, will garner support from the home crowd.
"This is where I learned the game," Nixon said of Fort Erie. "It's such a nice atmosphere down here. The facilities are excellent and the horses are enjoying the experience. We're happy to be here to support Fort Erie and Ontario horse racing."
Coltimus Prime was forwardly placed in the Queen's Plate through a swift three-quarters in 1:11.54 before fading.
"We drew inside and wanted to be forward in the Plate and it might have been a little quicker than we would have liked, but that's racing," said Nixon.
Coltimus Prime breezed between races on the July 22 card at Fort Erie with Francine Villeneuve aboard, clocked in a good :59 1/5.
"We wanted to replicate race conditions as best we could and he moved very well over the dirt here. We're very happy with now he breezed and he came back in excellent order," Nixon said.
Eurico Rosa Da Silva will pilot Coltimus Prime from post 6 in Tuesday's race, while Davy Moran has the mount on Lions Bay from the outside.
Fort Erie, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, Race 8
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1East Side (ON) Justin Stein 126 Mark E. Casse - 2 2Ami's Holiday (ON) Luis Contreras 126 Josie Carroll - 3 3Ascot Martin (ON) Jesse M. Campbell 126 Michael Keogh - 4 4Matador (ON) Patrick Husbands 126 Mark E. Casse - 5 5Money Talks (ON) Gerry Olguin 126 William Tharrenos - 6 6Coltimus Prime (ON) Eurico Rosa Da Silva 126 Justin J. Nixon - 7 7Smart Spree (ON) Emma-Jayne Wilson 126 Mark R. Frostad - 8 8Lynx (ON) Frankie Pennington 126 Cathal A. Lynch - 9 9Rhythm Blues (ON) Chantal Sutherland Kruse 126 Nicholas Gonzalez - 10 10Lions Bay (ON) David Moran 126 Jamie Attard -
Fort Erie, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, Race 8