By Emily Shields for Woodbine.com
TORONTO, June 28, 2018 – The men behind the moniker of Chiefswood Stable don’t want to be known as the ownership outfit that finished second in all three legs of the 2017 Canadian Triple Crown. Ideally, they hope to conquer some of the biggest races around North America, but for now they would like to improve upon their most recent Queen’s Plate finish, second with Tiz a Slam last year.
“Our goal is to go to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup and breed graded stake winners all over,” said Chiefswood manager Robert Landry. “But right now we’re looking forward to the Queen’s Plate.”
Chiefswood owners Robert and Mark Krembil will have two chances in the 159th Queen’s Plate, which takes place at Woodbine Racetrack June 30. They are scheduled to start both Neepawa and Rose’s Vision, and they aren’t running simply to be involved in the pageantry of Woodbine’s big day.
“We don’t want to run in the Queen’s Plate just for the sake of running,” Landry said. “We only want to go in if we think we’re going to be competitive. That’s what we think with these two.”
Landry noted that both runners entered their racing careers with high expectations. “We did expect them to get this far, actually,” he said. “They both showed a lot of talent right from the get go, and obviously they are very well bred.”
Neepawa is by the late Scat Daddy, best known now as the sire of American Triple Crown winner Justify. His dam, Niigon’s Touch, is also a Chiefswood homebred and a stakes winning daughter of Niigon. Landry knows Niigon well, having ridden him to victory in the 2004 Plate.
“I was hoping we could win the Plate with a son of Niigon but that didn’t happen,” Landry said. “This would be the next best thing.”
Neepawa finished second in Woodbine’s crowning race for juveniles, the Coronation Futurity, before he broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park on January 27. He ran fifth in the graded Palm Beach Stakes on the grass before returning to Woodbine in May to run third in an allowance over 1 1/16 miles. Mark Casse trains.
“We’ve always been high on Neepawa,” said Landry. “He galloped out really well when he ran second on the synthetic track here. I’m really confident that he of the two horses will get the mile and a quarter. Just watching his races and the way he gallops out I really believe that will not be a problem for him, where some horses will have trouble dealing with it.”
Based on his own experience riding horses as a jockey, Landry knows this can be an issue. “I rode a lot of horses that could handle one and one sixteenth or one and one eighth miles, but when they had to go that extra eighth they really struggled.”
Rose’s Vision is by Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Artie Schiller and is out of the unraced Bernardini daughter Essential Rose. Her dam, the Storm Cat mare Essential Edge, was a graded stakes winner at Woodbine and earned $462,415.
Rose’s Vision, trained by Stuart Simon, was also stakes placed at Woodbine last year, running third in the Cup and Saucer Stakes in October. He broke his maiden on the grass at Gulfstream Park before winning an allowance at Keeneland, but ran sixth as the second choice in Woodbine’s Marine Stakes (G3).
“We had a little setback with Rose’s Vision,” Landry said. “We ran him in the Marine and didn’t get the outcome we wanted. He hoped he would be more into the race early but that didn’t happen. That’s why we ended up running him back.”
Rose’s Vision finished second in the Plate Trial Stakes June 9. “I don’t like going into stakes races off subpar efforts, and I didn’t want to run in the Plate off the Marine,” Landry said. “We thought all along that Rose’s Vision had a lot of talent, and the Plate Trial showed that.”
Chiefswood Stable, which earned its first Sovereign Award as Outstanding Owner in 2017, is known for their gentle training methods and their own aftercare program. “Right from the get go when they are born they are handled very well,” Landry said. “Most of our horses are very people friendly. We take pride in the breaking process. Being an ex rider, I really want the horses to be as manageable as possible to start their life and their career.”
Watching other riders guide Chiefswood runners is still difficult for Landry. “It’s hard to sit in the stands, because as a rider if things went wrong the only person I could blame was me. Once they get on the track, whatever happens is out of my control. I always hope that all the participants get a clean trip and everybody is safe, that’s first and foremost.”
But winning after finishing second last year would be sweet. “I know the owners would be so excited,” Landry said. “We’re going into the race thinking they have a chance, hoping for a clean trip, and that they prove what they can do.”