By Hayley Morrison
FORT ERIE – The 88th running of the Prince of Wales is Tuesday, September 12, and is the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown (CTC). The three-year-old colts and geldings consist of a full field of twelve contenders hoping to dethrone the prince.
The second jewel will be contested over Fort Erie’s dirt course, going one mile and three-sixteenths, a slightly shorter distance than the King’s Plate.
The Prince of Wales will also be run on a dirt surface, not synthetic (tapeta) like the first leg of the CTC series.
The race is contested at the 126-year-old Fort Erie Race Track. Therefore, there’s a trifecta of changes at play – from distance, surface, and location that must be considered when analyzing this year’s field of contenders.
Here’s a rundown of this year’s contenders.
(1) ARMALINE (Army Mule – Starmaline)
Meanwhile, trainer Norman McKnight will try his luck with his recent claim, Armaline.
McKnight claimed the lightly-raced gelding from the barn of Kevin Attard on August 13, after he broke his maiden going one mile and one-sixteenths on Woodbine’s inner turf course. Armaline will be ridden by jockey Luis Contreras.
(2) MORSTACHY’S (Mor Spirit – Wekiva Mist)
Morstachy’s who finished fourteenth in the King’s Plate will be looking to provide trainer Renico Lafond with his first Canadian classic stakes win.
Lafond knows a thing or two about upsets.
The first leg of the CTC did not go according to plan for Lafond, who tried to learn the ins and outs of the gelding heading into the race.
“I claimed him, and he was doing well. I wanted to add blinkers to him because I could see he looked around a lot. I could see that he was not attentive. (Blinkers) did help him a lot,” said Lafond.
Lafond believes the chill atmosphere of the Fort may be conducive to getting more out of his horse.
“Most horses that I’ve ever dealt with are usually much better in Fort Erie; they have a better mindset,” said Lafond. “I’m confident with him on the dirt. He loves the dirt.”
Jockey Leo Salles has retained the mount and will be looking for his first Prince of Wales victory.
(3) TWIN CITY (Klimt – Minnie Apple Is)
Twin City, trained by Stu Simon, will also be looking for some racing glory on Prince of Wales Day.
The son of Klimt finished eighth in the King’s Plate behind Cool Kiss.
“He is actually bred both top and bottom for dirt. His breeding screams dirt a lot more than it screams turf,” said Simon.
Twin City worked four furlongs in 47.80 on WO’s dirt training track on September 3. He will be ridden by Gary Boulanger.
(4) STANLEY HOUSE (Army Mule – Stormy’s Song)
Stanley House, who finished third behind runner-up Elysian Field in the King’s Plate, posted his final work over WO’s dirt training track on September 5, under the watchful eye of trainer Mike De Paulo.
De Paulo feels confident in Stanley House’s chances, noting that his breeding would suggest Fort Erie’s dirt course is potentially his preferred surface.
“He is bred to be a dirt horse; he has never run on it, but his sire, Army Mule, was only dirt. I think he ran three times and was undefeated,” said De Paulo. “His mare (Stormy’s Song) is by Unbridled’s Song who was a dirt horse, so we are looking forward to running him on the dirt.”
Stanley House will be ridden by Rafael Hernandez.
“It’s a little shorter. We are going to put a set of blinkers on him, I think. “A new addition,” said De Paulo. “Actually, both horses are going to wear blinkers.”
De Paulo also trains Cool Kiss who is heading into the Prince of Wales Stakes.
(5) TRINITY PARK (Giant Gizmo – Malaspina)
Trainer Mike Dunslow has stated that Trinity Park could be supplemented to the race.
Since the horse was not nominated for the race, the owner, in this case, Bruno Schickedanz is required to pay a non-refundable $12,500 fee at the time of final entry.
Trinity Park finished fourth on August 19 going one mile and one-sixteenth on WO’s tapeta course.
On September 5, the son of Giant Gizmo worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 over WO’s dirt training track.
(6) KAUKOKAIPUU (Mr Speaker – Grey Pride)
Meanwhile, trainer Ted Holder shipped Kaukokaipuu down to Fort Erie, not once, but twice to train across the dirt track in preparation for the Prince of Wales.
The grey son of Mr Speaker finished fifteenth in the Plate, and despite the head-scratching performance, Holder remains confident in his horse.
“I’ve never lost confidence in the horse. The King’s Plate was a bit pondering,” said Holder. “I’ve been over that race a million times in my head and watched it lots and I’ve concluded that I’ve just got to throw it out.”
(7) STAYHONOR GOODSIDE (Honor Code – Nicki Knew)
Some of the new faces in the field will include Stayhonor Goodside, trained by Mark Casse.
The son of Honor Code finished second on July 23, going one mile and one-sixteenth on Woodbine’s tapeta course.
Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson has the call to ride Stayhonor Goodside.
(8) PARAMOUNT PRINCE (Society’s Chairman – Platinum Steel)
Paramount Prince won the Plate Trial Stakes on July 23 and the King’s Plate Stakes on August 20 in dominant fashion with Patrick Husbands aboard.
The son of Society’s Chairman posted his final work on September 3 going four furlongs in 49.20 over Woodbine’s (WO) dirt training track.
The chestnut gelding is owned by Mike Langlois and Gary Barber and trained by Mark Casse. His breeder is Ericka Rusnak.
“I would never say I’m confident. I believe that he is certainly capable of doing it. But I don’t want to jinx anything; I’m a little superstitious,” said Rusnak. “So, I’m just going in there with a hardy sense of optimism.”
(9) TIBURON (Good Magic – Enoree)
Attard will send out Tiburon, who ran seventh in the Plate Trial Stakes on July 23 at Woodbine.
The son of Good Magic will be piloted by Sahin Civaci.
(10) VELOCITOR (Mor Spirit – Polar Plunge)
Velocitor, trained by Kevin Attard, finished fourth in the Plate and worked (four furlongs in 50) on September 5 at the Fort in preparation for next week’s race.
Jockey Justin Stein will be back in the saddle looking to secure back-to-back Prince of Wales’ victories.
(11) OTTAWA (Violence – Moon Rainbow)
Hall of Fame trainer Josie Carroll secured last year’s Prince of Wales Stakes with Duke of Love and jockey Justin Stein.
Carroll will send out Ottawa to possibly engage and dethrone Paramount Prince.
The lightly raced son of Violence finished second in a maiden special weight race on July 30 going a mile and one sixteenth at Woodbine.
(12) COOL KISS (Kantharos – Hot Kiss)
Stanley House’s stablemate, Cool Kiss, finished seventh within the hefty field of 17 horses in the King’s Plate.
He is one of two contenders who have prior experience on the dirt, running second in a seven-furlong allowance race down at Gulfstream Park on January 29.
Cool Kiss is owned by Newtop Stables, John Russell, and Joseph De Paulo.
De Paulo trained Cool Kiss’ dam, Hot Kiss, and has fond memories of her.
Jose Campos will guide Cool Kiss in the Prince of Wales Stakes.