Monday, July 19, 2010

Prince of Wales Preview: Who Will Head To The Fort?

The Prince of Wales Stakes, the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, will go to post at beautiful Fort Erie Race Track on Sunday afternoon. I made the rounds of the Woodbine backstretch on Monday morning to try and firm up which Queen's Plate entrants would make the trip to the border oval. Here are the results:

Will Queen's Plate winner Big Red Mike go wire-to-wire at Fort Erie this Sunday?

Big Red Mike (Winner of the Queen's Plate)
Hotep (2nd in the Queen's Plate, bulleted 5F in 59.80 on the Woodbine dirt on Sunday.)
Dark Cloud Dancer (*Will be entered, but may not go. Worked 5F in 1:00.80 on the Woodbine dirt on Sunday.)
Who We Gunna Call (Plate entrant worked 5F in 1:02.20 at the Fort on Sunday.)
Captain Canuck (Worked a bullet 5F in 59.80 at the Fort on Sunday.)
Mobil Unit (Keogh trainee breezed 6F in 1:12 on the Woodbine dirt on Saturday.)
Mobthewarrior (Plate entrant breezed 5F in 59.80 on the Woodbine poly on Sunday.)

Who We Gunna Call is asking for a little more speed to chase on Sunday

Giant's Tomb (Finished fourth in the Queen's Plate.)
D's Wando (Could be racing on the turf this weekend.)
Vicar Street (Plate entrant will look to break his maiden elsewhere.)
Mobilizer (Plate entrant on a break.)
Moment of Majesty (Plate entrant)
Roan Inish (Plate entrant is pointed to the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga on August 21st.)

Oaks winning filly Roan Inish has her sights set on Saratoga

UNCONFIRMED - (Conditioners Mike Doyle and Sid Attard managed to avoid me!)
Ghost Fleet (Plate entrant breezed 5F in 1:02.40 on the Woodbine dirt on Monday morning.)
Smart Sky (Plate entrant.)

Trainer Mike Doyle was tipped off that a backstretch blogger was trying to find him

As well, there is one not-so-secret mystery entrant that is likely to be entered by trainer Brian Lynch once he's considered his options over a cup of coffee.

*UPDATE: Bill Tallon has now confirmed my not-so-subtle hint regarding Golden Moka. For details, click here.

The full field should be firmed up no later than Wednesday of this week and I'll keep the blog updated accordingly. Be sure to add Fort Erie Race Track on your Facebook for daily updates.

While doing the rounds I had a quick word* with trainers Mike Keogh and Greg de Gannes regarding their entrants Mobil Unit and Mobthewarrior.

*One of the greatest answers ever offered to a reporter was by Scottish footballing legend Gordon Strachan. As the story goes:
Reporter: "Gordon, can we have a quick word please?"
Strachan: "Velocity" [walks off]

For more genius from Strachan click on this link.

And now a few words with Mike Keogh who will ship Mobil Unit to Fort Erie early Sunday morning.

TDH: First, how is Artic Fern doing?
MK: He's good. We sent him for a scintigraphy and he lit up on his pastern so we brought him back and bucked the pastern and he was sound as a bell. We've x-rayed it four times now and still can't find anything. I'm not going to bring him back this year. I'm going to give him this year off.

Artic Fern will return in 2011

TDH: Why the long layoff?
MK: I'm just scared that just because it's not showing on x-ray that it still might be something underlying. I don't want to take the chance. For him to be that lame it had to be something and I just don't want to take a chance.

TDH: Why have you decided to start Mobil Unit in the Prince of Wales?
MK: Actually, when he won his last start if it hadn't been so close to the Plate I would have run him. The main reason for going is that I always train them on the training track and he always works very well. Down in Aiken, it's a dirt track, where I train them in the Winter he does very well there so I thought I'd give him a chance.

Mike Keogh and Mobil Unit head to Fort Erie on Sunday

TDH: Do you expect Mobil Unit to rate in the Prince of Wales?
MK: He's usually fairly close to the pace and the way the speed is holding down there at the moment you don't think you'd want to be too far off.

TDH: Was there any though of starting Woodland Flute as well?
MK: I think he's strictly turf. Omar (Moreno) worked him for me two days ago on the training track and he said 'what a difference on turf to the poly or dirt'. I'm just going to keep him on the grass.

As I spoke with Keogh, this wee filly stuck her head out of her stall and rested it on my shoulder for the duration of the interview! Her name is Silver Spring and she's just a baby.

TDH: Would that mean there's a possibility we might see Woodland Flute in the Breeders Stakes. (3rd leg of the Triple Crown going a mile and a half on the turf.)
MK: I'm not sure if he wants to go that far. He's got Wando on the sire side so that gets you the trip for sure as he won it (the Breeders) but it bothers me a little that he's a half to Woodsmoke and you couldn't drag her a yard over seven eighths!

TDH: How do you feel about West Ham's summer signings?
MK: I like that little Mexican guy (Pable Barrera) that they signed. He looks like he might be alright. They won their first game against Borussia Monchengladbach the other day, beat them 2-0.

On my way out I ran into Keogh's super sleek First Circle who was out grazing. First Circle set the pace in Sunday's Dance Smartly Stakes.

Isn't she just a great looking filly?

*Moments after arriving back home I found out that my Liverpool had signed ex-Chelsea, and former West Ham prodigy, Joe Cole. At this point, I've almost completely blocked out Liverpool's 2009 campgaign and I can't wait for the new season to start. The Woodbine backstretch features a wide array of football supporters: Obviously, Keogh is a Hammers supporter. Conditioner Brian Lynch wears Liverpool gear frequently. Ian Black is a Reading man. Ex-Asmussen galloper Alex Brown is a Man City supporter. Perhaps I'll start to work some football analysis into future posts.
As I walked from Keogh's barn to the main track I caught up with Greg De Gannes - conditioner of Mobthewarrior.

TDH: How did Mob come out of the Queen's Plate?
GdG: Very well. He's put on weight. He's happy, healthy and we're heading to the Prince Of Wales with a strong hand.

Mobthewarrior will be prepared for battle on Sunday

TDH: What did you think of his Plate run?
GdG: I wasn't happy with the pace of the race. He needs a little more pace to run at but you play the cards you're dealt. He was wide throughout and forced (jockey Ramsammy) Emile's hand into moving him earlier than he wanted to but he fought hard and there is no disrespecting his effort.

TDH: It was difficult conditions in the Plate with the heat and the crowd...
GdG: He seemed to handle it all and he's a pretty cool customer so I wasn't worried about how he'd handle the whole ordeal.

There's a chance Mobthewarrior could clean up on the dirt at Fort Erie

TDH: Do you think Mob will handle the dirt?
GdG: He trained all winter really well at Palm Meadows on the dirt. He's such an easy moving horse. I've trained out here a few times on the training track and he's such an easy going horse it doesn't seem to make a difference what surface he's on.

TDH: Do you think the pace of the Prince of Wales will be quicker?
GdG: I hope so. Hopefully someone will go up and take Big Red Mike off the bit a little bit. They usually have that track pretty fast on Prince of Wales day, so we'll see what happens.

Maybe he'll win by a head...

TDH: When does Mob leave for Fort Erie?
GdG: I'm not going until the morning of the race. He does well here at home and it's his own environment.

I'll have more notes on the Prince of Wales Stakes throughout the week so keep checking back.

* * *

Gus Shickendanz turfer Marlang notched a victory in the $100K G3 Sunset at Hollywood Park on the closing day of their meet. Marlang led throughout under a confident ride by Joel Rosario for trainer Neil Drysdale. The five year-old Langfuhr horse out of Marienburg held off a late challenge from Champ Pegasus in the final eighth of a mile for the win. The Canadian-bred last won on August 31, 2008 when he captured the G3 Saranac at Saratoga.

Marlang wins the $100K Sunset at Hollywood Park

* * *

Grand Adventure will be one of several contesting the Nijinksy Stakes this weekend at Woodbine. More on that event to come throughout the week.

Keep track of the latest goings on in the world of horse racing by clicking into TripleDeadHeat's Woodbine News page.


Andrew said...

Great Investigative work Keith.

That's a shame about Artic Fern but hopefully he comes back better than ever in the same fashion as Southdale has this year.

Go Magpies Go!

Keith-TripleDeatHeat said...

Thanks Andrew...

the triple crown trail will surely miss Artic Fern but I do like that the connections are taking the safe route and keeping the best interests of the horse at heart.

Magpies! I expect to see you in your barcode kit for the next big race at Woodbine.