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Is Contreras fit for an historical (Triple) crown?

August 3, 2011

TORONTO, August 3 – Luis Contreras, who won the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes, the first two jewels in the Canadian Triple Crown, will look to make history in the Breeders’ Stakes, Sunday at Woodbine.

Should he win the 1 ½-mile Breeders’, contested on the Toronto oval’s world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course, Contreras would become the first jockey in the Triple Crown era (since 1959) to win all three jewels with two horses.

The 25-year-old native of Mexico and Woodbine’s leading rider was aboard super filly Inglorious for her Queen’s Plate score on June 26. The Josie Carroll trainee had also taken the Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, on June 5. Contreras then partnered Pender Harbour, whom he’ll ride in the Breeders’, to take the Prince of Wales Stakes, at Fort Erie, on July 17.

“It’s exciting to win any major stakes race,” said Contreras, who has 112 wins, as of August 2. “Winning the Oaks and the Queen’s Plate was a thrill of a lifetime. To win the Triple Crown on both of these horses would be something I would remember forever. I owe Josie (trainer Carroll, Inglorious) and Mike (trainer DePaulo, Pender Harbour) a lot for having the confidence in me to ride these great horses.”

Pender Harbour, a chestnut son of Philanthropist, comes into his turf debut with a full head of steam.

A three-time winner, along with one third, from seven starts, Pender Harbour, last year’s Kingarvie Stakes champion, finished third to Inglorious in the Plate and followed it up with a nose nod over Bowman’s Causeway in the Prince of Wales.

The gelding worked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5, breezing, over the Woodbine turf training track on July 31.

“Pender Harbour loves a good fight,” said Contreras. “He showed his class in the Prince of Wales. He wasn’t going to get beat. He is getting more confident with each start. His last work was scary good. I told Mike he was ready. Mike has brought him into this race even better than his last start, if that is even possible.”

Contreras, who is on pace to break Mickey Walls’ Woodbine seasonal win record of 221, set in 1991, is excited at the chance to put his name in the history books.

“I try not to get nervous,” he said. “I ask all the horses I ride to relax. So it wouldn’t be fair if I was nervous.”

Contreras also leads the standings with 14 stakes scores approaching the mid-way point of the 167-day meet.

The post positions for the expected field of 15 will be drawn on Thursday.

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