Tiller Stacks Deck in Jacques Cartier Stakes

(from track report)
As he proved last year, the odds are often in trainer Bob Tiller's favor whenever the gates open. But in Sunday's $133,875 Jacques Cartier Stakes at Woodbine, the trainer has his rivals surrounded.

On their own merits, Tiller's Rare Friends, Cheap Talk and Forever Grand are tough enough to defeat. In the Cartier, the talented trio will run uncoupled in the six-furlong race, leaving rivals Lead By Example, Wild Whiskey and Pop Rocks with plenty to deal with.

Tiller, who finished second in the 2002 Woodbine trainer standings with 66 wins, will have an excellent opportunity to reach the winner's circle with any one of his 4-year-old performers.

Former champion Rare Friends will be looking to improve upon a fifth-place effort in the Briartic Stakes, the race representing the son of Helmsman's 2003 bow on Opening Day. The lifetime winner of seven races has $536,989 in career purse earnings, over half of that money earned after reaching the winner's circle three times in 2002.

Cheap Talk, a 4-year-old dark bay with 11 in-the-money finishes from 13 starts, finished off his 2002 campaign in style, winning three-straight, including a half-length triumph in the 2002 Kennedy Road Stakes. The Jacques Cartier will be the seasonal and stakes bow for the son of Abel Prospect.

Forever Grand, the son of War Deputy, is expecting a better finish than his most recent effort, a fifth-place, 16 ½-length loss in the Deputy Minister Stakes last October at Woodbine. Last year's third-place finisher in the Queen's Plate has six career victories, including three consecutive victories to start 2002.

Lead By Example won on opening day at Woodbine. Wild Whiskey was last year's Woodstock Stakes champion.

A new directive from the Ontario Racing Commission dictates that "in all stake and handicap races in which the gross purse is $100,000.00 or more, starters shall be considered a separate betting interest irrespective of common owner or trainer."

$133,875 Jacques Cartier Stakes, 4 & up, 6 furlongs
PP / Horse / Trainer / Jockey
1 / Rare Friends / Bob Tiller / Patrick Husbands
2 / Lead By Example / Josie Carroll / Emile Ramsammy
3 / Cheap Talk / Bob Tiller / Patrick Husbands
4 / Wild Whiskey / John Ross / James McKnight
5 / Pop Rocks / Mike Wright Jr. / Chantal Sutherland
6 / Forever Grand / Bob Tiller / Todd Kabel