Cool Catomine proved to have another gear and jockey Luis Contreras delivered another winning ride in a Canadian Triple Crown race as the duo rolled past State of Honor in the final sixteenth and drew off to a 2 1/2-length score in the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes July 25 at Fort Erie Racetrack.
Contreras secured his second straight Prince of Wales victory, after guiding Amis Gizmo to victory last year, and puts himself in position for a sweep of this year's Canadian Triple Crown races after guiding filly Holy Helena to victory in the Queen's Plate Stakes July 2 at Woodbine.
In Tuesday evening's race for 3-year-olds foaled in Canada, Jacks of Hearts Racing and J.R. Racing Stable's Cool Catomine shadowed State of Honor through the first turn and raced in the two path in the backstretch in a quarter-mile in :23.52 and a half-mile in :47.99. Moving into the far turn, Queen's Plate runner-up Tiz a Slam moved toward the leader.
That pair, both sent off at 2-1, picked up the pace in the far turn and when State of Honor repelled that challenge, he found himself with a clear advantage. But Cool Catomine had started his final push, answering Contreras' call. Cool Catomine and State of Honor battled in the stretch before the winner prevailed and drew off late, completing the 1 3/16-mile test in 1:55.63.
Trained by co-owner John Ross, who called the victory the biggest of his career, Cool Catomine entered Tuesday's race off a maiden special weight victory July 2 on the all-weather surface at Woodbine. That race marked the fourth start for the Spring At Last colt, who raced in blinkers for the first time.
Cool Catomine and regular rider Contreras stayed closer to the pace in the July 2 maiden. The blinkers and rider's approach returned in his stakes debut Tuesday.
"With this horse, if you keep riding him, he'll give you everything he has," Contreras said in a track simulcast interview.
Cool Catomine returned $30.80, $9.60, and $4.30 across the board. Chiefswood Stable's 9-5 favorite Aurora Way, who rallied late to just edge State of Honor, paid $4 to place and $2.60 to show. Conrad Farms' State of Honor paid $2.70 to show.
Aurora Way bounced back from a ninth-place finish in the Queen's Plate, which was just the second start for the Giant's Causeway gelding, who rolled to a four-length victory in his maiden special debut June 10 at Woodbine.
State of Honor earned a grade 1-placing when second in this year's Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) before an off-the-board finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1). Trained by Mark Casse, State of Honor was entered off an eighth-place finish in the Queen's Plate.
While it took four starts for Cool Catomine to secure his maiden win, Ross said on the track simulcast that he saw the colt making strides with each effort.
Bred in Ontario by Bernard and McCormack, Cool Catomine is one of five winners out of Smart Catomine, by Smart Strike, a list that includes stakes winner Wild Catomine and stakes-placed Crowns Dynasty.
Ross purchased Cool Catomine for $29,305 at the 2015 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario Division) Canadian-bred yearling sale.