Thursday, March 11, 2010

Queen's Plate Profiler: Captain Canuck

Woodbine released its annual Queen's Plate Winterbook on Wednesday afternoon listing Hollinger as 5-2 favourite. The 151st edition of the Queen’s Plate is set for July 4th at Woodbine.

I have been tracking many of the Plate hopefuls on my 2010 Queen's Plate contenders page. The page tracks workouts, results and information regarding the connections and breeding of the horse.

Going forward, I will attempt to profile some of the hopefuls as they work towards the starting gate for the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

While it's early days yet, the first edition of Queen's Plate Profiler focuses on Centennial Farms (Niagara) Inc hopeful Captain Canuck.


If ever a horse was named to win Canada’s most prestigious race it is Centennial Farms (Niagara) Inc. charge Captain Canuck.

The Pulpit - Magna Cum Laude gelding debuted March 6th and he rallied to finish second in an MSW turf tilt at Gulfstream despite a troubled trip at odds of 26-1. Checked at the start of the 1M 1/16 turf event, jockey Eibar Coa showed remarkable patience racing from tenth position early before circling horses five-wide turning into the stretch failing only to pass the winner Beau Choix.

Captain Canuck earned a 73 Beyer Figure for his effort.

Captain Canuck skates home second at Gulfstream

I recently corresponded with Brandon Boone, a shareholder in Centennial Farms regarding their exciting Queen’s Plate prospect. The stable was represented in the 2008 Queen's Plate by Sebastian's Song and now look to have another very good horse on their hands.

TDH: How did you acquire Captain Canuck?

BB: He was purchased at the Ocala two year old in training sale last February for $190,000. I picked him out of the catalogue and our trainer, Donnie MacRae, inspected him and, ultimately, bid on and signed the ticket for him. Donnie did not go to Florida this year, so we sent the Captain down to Florida with Josie Carroll.

TDH: Who are your fellow partners in Captain Canuck - Centennial Farms. How did you meet?

BB: The sole shareholder, director and officer of Centennial Farms (Niagara) Inc. is Domenic DiLalla, who owns Centennial Construction and Contracting (Niagara) Inc. and a related group of companies, whose offices are in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.
The shareholders of Farms were originally Domenic, Mario Formica, Dr. George Zimakas and I. Mario is a former electrician who has known Domenic for most of his adult life and now manages our farm.
George is a doctor of internal medicine in the Niagara Health System.
I am a real estate and business lawyer. Domenic, Mario and George are my clients. Dom took over sole ownership about a year and a half ago, but Mario, George and I are still very much involved, as are Domenic's nephews, Antony Candeloro and Joseph Candeloro, and future brother-in-law, Dino Sorge.

TDH: Initially, I thought that Captain Canuck was named for Vancouver Canuck legend Trevor Linden but that’s not the case is it?

BB: The Captain is named for our majority shareholder's nephew, Antony Candeloro, who was captain of our local junior B hockey team, the Niagara Falls Canucks, last year.

TDH - How did you first become interested in horse racing?

BB: Mario has been involved in horse racing for most of his adult life. He started to wind down his involvement in the early 2000's, but had a hard-knocking mare, Cinderita, who he bred to Trajectory, and later gave birth to a colt, Matty Gazoo.

Domenic and George agreed to go partners with Mario in Matty and put him in training with Alec Fehr. Alec convinced them to claim Colorful Judgement, who won the With Approval in his first start off the claim in August, 2006, and they were hooked. I got involved shortly thereafter and we went on a buying and claiming spree in late 2006 and early 2007.

Centennial Farms Sebastian's Song raced in the 2008 Queen's Plate won by Not Bourbon

If the Centennial Farms group sounds familiar to American readers it is because they had had a 1/3 interest in Patena prior to selling to IEAH. Click on this link read about the sale of Patena.

TDH: How did you select Patena?

BB: Patena was purchased by John Sikura and Glen Sikura at the Keeneland yearling sale in September, 2007. I believe that Hill n Dale (Kentucky) bred him. They were looking for a partner, so we jumped at the opportunity.

TDH. You picked Captain up at Ocala for $190K - what was it about the horse that stood out to you?

BB: Captain was Canadian bred and very well put together. First foal out of a well-bred stakes winning dam. Our research indicated that he had been purchased as a yearling for $225,000, so we set a ceiling price of $200,000 (the market had dropped since then) and were fortunate to get him.

TDH: Why is Captain only getting started now?

BB: Captain is a very big horse and we want to let him grow into himself. When he finally made it to the track, he got loose on Donnie and nearly ran through a fence. We had to lay him up for a few months and geld him.

TDH: I understand Captain Canuck is being pointed towards The Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland. (A race memorably won in 1990 by Izvestia.) - Do you think Captain is a potential turf specialist? How do you think his form will translate to synthetic?

BB: Captain has definite poly ability, according to Donnie. His work at Ocala (poly) was a good one and he trained on it, at various times, this year. It sounds like he will be equally talented on poly or turf. We are looking forward to Keeneland, that's for sure. Either the Transylvania Stakes on April 2 or the MSW on the 8th.

2009 Transylvania Stakes won by Stormalory

TDH: What other horses do you have in training currently? Which of them are you excited about?

BB: We have about 40 horses now, about 20 of which are runners. Niagara Thunder is also at Palm Meadows with Josie. We have 9 two year olds starting this year. Other runners include Abruptly, Bent Attorney, Luigi's Honour, Casimiro, Sebastian's Song, Salomea, Briskly.


Of that group above, particularly observant readers will notice the name Abruptly is also on my 2010 Queen's Plate contenders.

I was not alone in recognizing some potential in Captain Canuck. David Harris recently wrote the following piece for FoalTrack:

His female family is not exactly a conventional match for Pulpit: although his first four dams were all stakes horses, they did it in Michigan, where they run some of the slowest stakes. Captain Canuck’s dam Magna Cum Laude is by Pleasant Tap, but the dam sires before that are all the best of Michigan sires: Monetary Gift, Private Thoughts, and Rattle Dancer. You have another old Michigan sire, De Jeau, under the 4th dam. I’m afraid I’m probably the only one who understands the sheer improbability of anything coming to prominence out of a Michigan female family, but you’ll have to indulge me the space to try to convince you.

Captain Canuck breaks off the family tradition of Michigan breeding; he’s bred in Canada, and based on what I saw on Saturday, he’s my pick for the Queen’s Plate.

TripleDeadHeat will continue to keep tabs on Captain Canuck as he looks for a race at Keeneland.


In other Queen's Plate news it can be noted:

Flim Flam was a vet scratch in his scheduled race on March 10th at Tampa Bay.

Sam-Son Farms Cognashene is three deep on the AE list for a 1M1/16 turf tilt at the Fair Grounds on Saturday for trainer Malcolm Pierce.

The G2 winning filly Bickersons tries the Cicada Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday. The Ontario-bred is owned by George and Lori Hall and trained by Kelly Breen.

Bickersons wins the Forward Gal Stakes Jan 31/2010

Fastin Bear breezed 3F in 36 on the Woodbine dirt training track on March 11th. Rank 10/95

It's Time Bear breezed 3F in 36.60 on the Woodbine dirt training track on March 11th. Rank 39/95

Arepeatee breezed $F in 49.40 on the Woodbine dirt training track on March 11th. Rank 12/34

Dashing Tom breezed 3F in 35.40 on the Woodbine dirt training track on March 11th. Rank 4/95

Vicar Street breezed 5F in 1:02.00 on the Ocala Training Centre All Weather Track on March 10. Rank 9/11

Abogado breezed 3F in 38.20 on the Woodbine dirt training track on March 9, 2010. Rank 27/36

Race for Gold breezed 3F in 38.60 on the Woodbine dirt training track on March 8, 2010. Rank 25/51

Dixie Trouper bulleted 6F handily in 1:11.60 on the Santa Anita All Weather track on March 2010. Rank 1/31

Check out the Plate Contenders tab at the top of the page for more information regarding the above listed horses.

* * *

Woodbine notes:

Roger Attfield sends out Lady Shakespeare on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs in the G3 Hillsborough Stakes. Bill Mott's Mushka is the 5-2 favourite in a full twelve horse field travelling 1M and 1/8 on the turf. Click on the line to see the entries.

Careless Jewel, potentially headed to a matchup with Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom, bulleted 5F handily in 1:01.40 at Palm Meadows on March 11th.

Readers who enjoyed Tuesday's post regarding the dispersal auction for Windfields Farms may have missed the update regarding the mysterious number stamped on the silks I purchased.

An email from Woodbine advised:

Regarding your recent blog post about the Windfields dispersal, the number 0145 on the silks is their official 'silks number' by which the silks are indexed at the colours rooms at least at Woodbine and Fort Erie and perhaps at any other North American track. This number is assigned to the silks at the time that they are registered. As an indicator for how long Windfields has held that number, modern silks numbers are roughly issued in numerical order as new silks are registered and most silks numbers in the Woodbine colours room are 5 digits long.

You learn something new every day!

As an aside - The Windfields post received a record number of hits for this blog and I would like to thank Equidaily, Raceday360 and Het Nakoersen Forum for helping drive a great deal of readers to Triple Dead Heat.

The latter link belongs to a Dutch racing forum of which the content I cannot read. I can only hope it's complimentary as the only Dutch I know is Dirk Kuyt.



Anonymous said...

You should aslo know Ruud Van Nistelroy !! They named a horse after him....

Keith-TripleDeadHeat said...

A very good point Mr. Anonymous. I suppose, as a liverpool supporter, that I am simply nearsighted when it comes to players once associated with Man United!

Thanks for the comments!