The third and final leg of the 2019 Canadian Triple Crown heads back to Woodbine on Saturday for the 61st running of the Breeders’ Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile turf race restricted to 3-year-old Canadian-foaled horses. While there is no Triple Crown title on the line this year, it should nonetheless make for an exciting event.
Headlining the event are a trio of runners who will have started in all three Triple Crown legs by the time they enter the gates. Chief among them is Tone Broke, who last time out won the Prince of Wales Stakes, leg two of the Triple Crown, over the dirt at Fort Erie.
Prior to that, he finished third in the Triple Crown kick-starter, the Queen’s Plate Stakes, held over Woodbine’s synthetic surface. The big question mark surrounding him is how he will adapt to his first time running on turf.
Trainer Josie Carroll will saddle the other two attempting to compete in all three events. Avie’s Flatter will try to finally break through for the win after finishing second in each of the first two legs. His last victory came in the Transylvania Stakes (G3), held on Keeneland’s grass course in April.
Also coming from the Carroll barn is He’s a Macho Man, who finished fourth in each of the first two legs. Carroll won the 2014 edition with Ami’s Holiday, which is also the most recent time that the Hall of Famer entered two runners (Keen Gizmo was the other).
Here is a look at the full field:
Avie’s Flatter won’t be the only entry looking to break through for a victory. The gelding has finished second in each of his past four starts, all at the optional claiming level, with his lone turf start coming three back.
Interestingly, he broke his maiden last September in a five-horse field that included fellow foes Pay for Peace and Lucas n’ Lori. His sire Victor’s Cry won a pair of graded stakes on turf in 2010, including the Shoemaker Mile (G1).
This horse takes a considerable step up in class after breaking his maiden in his most recent start, but he may be better equipped for this than one would expect. He started three times as a juvenile, with his best finish a second in his lone turf start.
After a troubled trip in his 2019 debut resulted in him running fourth, the Kevin Attard trainee stretched out to 1 1/4 miles over the turf to break his maiden. This gelded son of Bodemeister should be well-equipped to handle the Breeders’ Stakes distance and may be a great value play in his third start off of the bench.
3. Lucas n’ Lori
Kevin Attard will also saddle this gelded son of Exhi, who nearly won a 1 1/4-mile turf event here on July 26. He also ran a decent sixth in his other turf try, though traffic troubles in the stretch may have kept him from a better finish.
In between those two races, he finished sixth in the Queen’s Plate. His style is to drop back and make one run to the front, so how he performs depends on both his trip and the overall pace.
4. Rising Star
Zilli Racing might have gotten a bargain after claiming this son of Ghostzapper - who was purchased $325,000 as a yearling - for just $40,000. As a maiden, his new connections had enough faith in his talent to run him in the Plate Trial Stakes and the Queen’s Plate, where he finished third and ninth, respectively.
Following the Queen’s Plate, he broke his maiden going 1 1/8 miles over this course. He is another closing type that will need a fast pace and clean trip in order to succeed.
5. Tone Broke
This well-traveled colt has had an interesting journey to get here. He won twice in his juvenile season before finishing a late-charging fourth in the Remington Springboard Mile Stakes.
He then shipped to Dubai and competed twice at the Meydan Racecourse with an eye on competing in the U.A.E. Derby (G2), but after failing to finish better than sixth, he returned stateside and nearly won the Sir Barton Stakes. He has improved in each of this starts since coming home and is a deserving favorite.
6. Pay for Peace
One start after finishing second to fellow foe Seguimi, he broke his maiden over another competitor, Lucas n’ Lori. A trio of off-the-board finishes followed until he upset the Plate Trial at nearly 20/1. He finished eighth in the Queen’s Plate and sixth most recently in his turf debut.
7 Avie’s Flatter
After winning three of four starts as a juvenile, including a pair of stakes races, he was named the Queen’s Plate Winterbook favorite.
Despite not being quite good enough to win either of his last two starts, the son of Flatter demands respect. His two older siblings have either won or placed in stakes races.
8 He’s a Macho Man
After finishing behind his stablemate in the first two legs, he will hope to turn the tables and take a step forward in his turf debut. He has the turf pedigree on his dam’s side, which includes Lemon Drop Kid and War Chant.
It’s worth noting that Luis Contreras recently rode several horses in this field but opted for He’s a Macho Man.
After failing to hit the board in three starts on the synthetic course, he moved to the turf and won by over 5 lengths. He stepped up to the Toronto Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on the turf and finished fourth.
As a son of Pioneerof the Nile out of the Holy Bull mare Holy Éclair, the added distance should be within his wheelhouse.
Breeders Stakes Pick
Avie’s Flatter to win the race: 2/1.
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