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Canadian Triple Crown drought to be challenged

FORT ERIE – The Canadian Triple Crown drought has reached 15 years.

On Fort Erie Race Track’s signature night, Queen's Plate winner One Bad Boy will look to take the next step toward the elusive Crown last won in 2003 by Wando as the 7-5 favorite in the $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes.

All five horses in the small but competitive field that will enter the gate Tuesday for Race 8 at approximately 7:36 p.m. at the border oval will have come out of the Queen’s Plate.

This year’s series has additional incentive through a $500,000 bonus offered by sponsor Ontario Lottery and Gaming for any horse that wins all three legs.

Tuesday’s race is the only one in the series run over a dirt surface and will be contested over 1 3/16 miles, similar to the U.S. Triple Crown’s second leg, the Preakness.

First post at Fort Erie will be at 3:55 EDT, and a post-race concert by Jonesy will complete the day just across from the Peace Bridge.

One Bad Boy’s connections have been pointing their Ontario-bred ridgling to this series and kept him at Woodbine after his 3 1/2-length win over the Tapeta in suburban Toronto.

Should the son of Twirling Candy complete the first two legs, he would be the first to attempt the Canadian Triple since the last winner in 2003. Last year, the filly Wonder Gadot won the first two legs and skipped the final leg, run on turf at Woodbine, for the Travers at Saratoga.

The final leg, the Breeders’ Stakes, is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 17 over the famous E.P. Taylor turf course in Toronto.

I was high on the Plate winner at Woodbine when he was under the radar, but now all eyes are upon him. He’s trained well over dirt based on part-owner and racing manager Brooke Hubbard’s comments to The News at the Plate draw.

He benefited from a slow dawdling pace early that let him conserve energy and hold off a late challenge from morning line favorite Avie’s Flatter. Flavien Prat will make his first appearance at Fort Erie to ride One Bad Boy for west coast trainer Richard Baltas.

Tuesday evening’s race should be under different circumstances. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano will make a rare appearance at the border oval to try to avenge the Plate defeat aboard Avie’s Flatter (5-2).

While he could not get by the winner at Woodbine, he had the misfortune of outside post No. 14, having to burn energy early for position.

One angle that shouldn’t be overlooked is trainer Josie Carroll sending her colt down to Fort Erie for a workout. The same strategy was successful in 2014 when Justin Nixon worked long shot winner Coltimus Prime over the track.

Avie’s Flatter worked lights out July 11, which to me could be the difference-maker. Fort Erie’s track can be more difficult to run over than Santa Anita, where One Big Boy has done the majority of his dirt racing.

Tone Broke (5-1) will be a square price and has run well over dirt, including a big effort on Preakness weekend. He finished second in the Sir Barton to King for a Day, who defeated this weekend’s Haskell winner Maximum Security in the Pegasus.

Ricardo Santana Jr., currently riding at Saratoga, will head down the Thruway to regain the mount for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. That combination has been on fire at the Spa.

Mark Casse will be seeking to tie Roger Attfield for second in career Prince of Wales training wins should Skywire (3-1) cross the finish line first. Casse has four Prince of Wales victories, including three of the last seven.

Skywire, the post-time favorite as they left the gate at the Plate, found all kinds of trouble at the start, erasing all chances of a top-three finish.

Like Tone Broke, he has back class over dirt, and has the only graded stake win in the field.

Any of the top four could come out on top in the Fort Erie feature. We’d love for Castellano to give Josie Carroll her first Wales Win.

It’s the richest and most important race that is run close to Buffalo and should be a terrific twilight card over the bridge.

Post Time Outlook: 1-Avie’s Flatter; 2-Tone Broke; 3- One Bad Boy; 4-Skywire


Race 8 - Fort Erie Race Track - 7:36 p.m.

The field for the 84th running of the Prince of Wales Stakes (post, horse, jockey, trainer, odds in parentheses):

1-One Bad Boy, Prat, Baltas, 7/5

2-Avie’s Flatter, Castellano, Carroll, 5/2

3-Tone Broke, Santana Jr., Asmussen, 5-1

4-He’s a Macho Man, Husbands, Carroll, 8-1

5-Skywire, da Silva, Casse, 3-1

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

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