Silver Ticket One to Beat in Breeders' Stakes

(from Woodbine report)
With Queen's Plate winner Niigon at Saratoga to contest the Jim Dandy (gr. II) on dirt, Sam-Son Farm's Silver Ticket and The Two Bit Racing Stable's A Bit O'Gold head a field of 11 Canadian-bred 3-year-olds for the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes Sunday at Woodbine.

All horses carry 126 pounds in the third leg in the Canadian Triple Crown, contested at 1 1/2 miles over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

Silver Ticket, one of four Sam-Son runners in the race (as separate wagering interests) trying to give the owner a record sixth Breeders' victory, has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite. To be ridden as usual by Todd Kabel, the homebred gelded son of Silver Deputy has won two of his three career starts on the lawn, including the Toronto Cup Handicap July 17 in his latest start. Overall, he's won three of six lifetime outings and $231,860.

After winning his debut on the grass this year, Silver Ticket was eighth in the Queen's Plate June 27, 19 lengths behind Niigon. Then came his easy Toronto Cup score.

"This is a nice horse," says trainer Mark Frostad. "He came from far off the pace in the (Toronto Cup), but he had a nice, strong kick at the end of the race. That's what you want to see heading into a 1 ½-mile race."

Sam-Son's five Breeders' wins came with Hangin On A Star (1987), King's Deputy (1988), Dance Smartly (1991), Chief Bearhart (1996) and Portcullis (2002). Frostad, in addition to winning with Chief Bearhart and Portcullis, also conditioned Charlie's Dewan to a 1995 Breeders' win, in stakes-record time of 2:26 2/5 seconds.

Kabel, once again Woodbine's leading stakes-winning rider this season, is looking for his first Breeders' win.

A Bit O'Gold, the beaten 6-5 favorite in the Queen's Plate, but winner of the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie July 18, is the second choice at 4-1. The son of Gold Fever, making his turf debut, will try to duplicate the feat of Peteski in 1993, who won the Breeders' in his first race on the grass.

"I hope he will like the turf," trainer Catherine Day Phillips says. "There are no guarantees he will or won't, but he's got a huge heart. He's very classy."

To be ridden by Jono Jones, A Bit O'Gold is one of only two horses in the field to have also contested the first two legs of the Triple Crown. The chestnut gelding, a $60,000 yearling purchase, is far and away the field's leading money winner with $863,199.

After finishing second, three-quarters of a length behind Niigon, in the Queen's Plate June 27, A Bit O'Gold turned the tables in the Prince of Wales, heading Niigon at the wire in the slop, once again as the betting choice. He's won five of eight career starts and has been worse than second only once.

Day Phillips will try to become the first woman to train a Breeders' Stakes winner.

Cavans Lane, at 12-1 with Patrick Husbands, will try to give owners Eugene and Laura Melnyk and Bill and Iris Bristow a second Breeders' Stakes win. In 2000, their Lodge Hill denied Scatter The Gold a Triple Crown, taking the race by three lengths. Trained by David Bell, Cavans Lane is a half-brother to Lodge Hill, both out of the mare L'Insatiable.

Husbands, of course, won his first Breeders' Stakes last year aboard Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year Wando.

His Smoothness, a son of champion Sky Classic, is trained by Jim Day, who has won three Breeders' Stakes with Dance Smartly (1991), King's Deputy (1988) and Hangin On A Star (1987). His Smoothness is the only other starter Sunday to compete in all three Triple Crown races.

$500,000 Breeders' Stakes, 3-year-old Canadian breds, 1 1/2 miles on turf
1/Hunt The Rainbow/Mark Frostad/Eurico Rosa da Silva/20-1
2/Strike Em Hard/Dave Cotey/Constant Montpellier/20-1
3/Burst Of Fire/Mark Frostad/Slade Callaghan/9-2
4/A Bit O'Gold/Catherine Day Phillips/Jono Jones/4-1
5/His Smoothness/Jim Day/Jim McKnight/15-1
6/Silver Ticket/Mark Frostad/Todd Kabel/9-5
7/Cavans Lane/David Bell/Patrick Husbands/12-1
8/Witness This/Mark Casse/Dino Luciani/20-1
9/Rainbows For Luck/Mark Frostad/Jim McAleney/8-1
10/Lord Carmen/Josie Carroll/Emile Ramsammy/12-1
11/Lone Arrow/Roger Attfield/Richard Dos Ramos/30-1