TORONTO, October 9, 2020 – OLG Canadian Triple Crown contender Mighty Heart tops a list of a dozen Canadian-bred three-year-old Thoroughbreds nominated to the 129th running of the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes.
Mighty Heart remains on target to make an historic attempt at sweeping Canada’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing following a pair of spectacular performances in the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes last month in rein to Daisuke Fukumoto for Hall of Fame trainer Josie Carroll and owner/breeder Lawrence Cordes.
“It would be a great thing to accomplish, I’d certainly be thrilled,” said Carroll. “It’s very seldom you get a horse that is genuinely capable of winning these races on all three surfaces and that makes it very exciting.”
The connections of 11 other sophomore stars have made the October 7 sustaining payment to remain eligible to the Breeders’ Stakes, which will be contested over 1 ½ miles on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday, Oct. 24.
The one-eyed Dramedy colt opened his Triple Crown bid on September 12 with a 7 ½-length triumph over 1 ¼ miles on Woodbine’s Tapeta surface.
The nominations list includes Queen’s Plate runner-up Belichick, a lightly raced maiden, also trained by Carroll and owned by NK Racing and LNJ Foxwoods. The Lemon Drop Kid colt, who launched his career on turf in July with a rallying third-place effort over seven furlongs, has finished no worse than third in his first three career starts.
Mighty Heart and Belichick are both scheduled to work on Saturday at Woodbine in preparation for the Breeders’ Stakes.
“Tomorrow will be Mighty Heart’s first breeze since he ran in the Prince of Wales, so as long as everything goes well, we’re pointing in that direction,” confirmed Carroll.
Mighty Heart could face another familiar foe in the Breeders’ Stakes as Clayton looks to complete the tri-surface series. After winning the Plate Trial in mid-August, the Kevin Attard trainee hit the board in both the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales. Owned by Donato Lanni and Daniel Plouffe, the son of Bodemeister finished 2 ½ lengths behind Mighty Heart in the middle jewel at 1 3/16 miles over Fort Erie’s dirt track on September 29.
Other Breeders’ Stakes hopefuls include Conrad Farms’ Muskoka Giant, who broke his maiden over one mile of turf two starts prior to his fifth-place finish in the Prince of Wales for trainer Mark Casse, and Al and Bill Ulwelling’s multiple stakes placed filly Merveilleux, another Attard trainee who was a game third in the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser prior to finishing sixth in the Queen’s Plate.
Enchant Me, Glorious Tribute and Olliemyboy are also nominated after making an appearance in the opening legs of the Triple Crown.
Deviant, Kunal, Meyer and Pleasecallmeback complete the list of Breeders’ Stakes eligibles with notable turf experience. Roger Attfield, who co-owns and conditions Pleasecallmeback, has trained three of the past seven Triple Crown winners (With Approval in 1989, Izvestia in 1990, Peteski in 1993).
In 2018, the Casse-trained filly Wonder Gadot won the first two Triple Crown races but did not compete in the Breeders’ Stakes. Casse sent out Neepawa to victory in the final leg that year.
The last Triple Crown contender prior to Wonder Gadot was Wando, who was crowned just the seventh horse to complete the series sweep when he won the 2003 Breeders’ Stakes with jockey Patrick Husbands aboard for trainer Michael Keogh and the late owner/breeder Gustav Schickedanz.
Since then, A Bit O’Gold (2004), Pender Harbour (2011) and Tone Broke (2019) also claimed two-thirds of the Triple Crown by taking the last two legs.
An additional $5,000 payment or supplementary fee of $12,500 is due upon entry. The entry box closes and post positions will be drawn to finalize the field for the 2020 edition of the Breeders’ Stakes on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
BREEDERS’ STAKES NOMINATIONS
Horse – Trainer – Owner
Belichick – Josie Carroll – NK Racing and LNJ Foxwoods
Clayton – Kevin Attard – Donato Lanni and Daniel Plouffe
Deviant – Mark Casse – Red Lane Thoroughbreds LLC
Enchant Me – Santino Di Paola – York Tech Racing Stable
Glorious Tribute – Barbara Minshall – Bruce Lunsford
Kunal – Steven Chircop – Vincente Stella Stables LLC
Merveilleux – Kevin Attard – Al and Bill Ulwelling
Meyer – Martin Drexler – Bruno Schickedanz
Mighty Heart – Josie Carroll – Lawrence Cordes
Muskoka Giant – Mark Casse – Conrad Farms
Olliemyboy – Sid Attard – JMJ Racing Stables LLC
Pleasecallmeback – Roger Attfield – Roger Attfield and Dan Gale