Tone Broke and Avie's Flatter headline a field of nine Canadian-bred three-year-olds in Saturday's $400,000 Breeders' Stakes, third jewel of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown, at Woodbine.
The Breeders' Stakes, to be contested at 1 1/2 miles over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, will be televised live on TSN 2 in HD from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., with a post time of 5:42 p.m. ET. The winner earns $240,000. All colts and geldings will carry 126 pounds.
There is no Triple Crown on the line this year, as One Bad Boy, winner of the 160th running of the Queen's Plate, finished third to Tone Broke, the L and N Racing LLC silk bearer, in the Prince of Wales Stakes on July 23 at Fort Erie.
This marks the 16th consecutive year without a Triple Crown champion in Canada. Wando was the last to record the three-race sweep in 2003.
A dark bay son of Broken Vow, Tone Broke, unraced on turf, arrives at the Breeders' off a sparkling effort in the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Under Ricardo Santana Jr., Tone Broke, third at the stretch call, surged pass Avie's Flatter and One Bad Boy to notch a two-length score in the 84th edition of the race.
“The longer the races are, he's going to be better and today he proved a lot,” said Santana after the win. “He kept fighting to the end and he gave me a nice finish at the end.”
“I think the further the better and he's versatile,” added Darren Fleming, assistant trainer to Asmussen. “He's been on the [synthetic track] one time and he liked it. I don't think the turf will bother him a bit. He's that good, he's a nice horse.”
Asmussen, who will have Woodbine's leading rider Rafael Hernandez in the irons for the Breeders', was pleased with the manner in which the gelding performed over the Fort Erie main track.
“It was excellent to see him put it all together,” the Hall of Fame conditioner told the Woodbine communications office. “I think he's shown talent in the past and for him to have such a significant breakthrough victory is exciting. We've been expecting it for about eight months, I think.”
Bred by Sean Fitzhenry, Tone Broke is 1-1-1 from three starts this season and 3-1-1 from 10 starts overall.
Asmussen is looking for another strong effort.
“It will be interesting for his turf debut. There's no better course than Woodbine's to try him on. He's a big, tall horse, very athletic, and I think he'll get over it very well.”
Avie's Flatter, the Queen's Plate Winterbook favorite trained by Josie Carroll, has posted two runner-up finishes in the first two jewels of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown series.
Bred and owned by Ivan Dalos, the son of Flatter, to be ridden by Eurico Rosa Da Silva, sports a 4-2-0 record from eight career races.
“I thought Avie's Flatter ran a great race,” said Carroll of the Prince of Wales performance. “He stalked the winner all the way and he couldn't get by him. I think he ran a great race and was second best.”
The colt netted a stakes natural hat trick starting in 2018 when he won the Cup and Saucer Stakes in October and the Coronation Futurity in November – both at Woodbine – followed by a victory in the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland this April.
“He showed a lot of talent from day one,” offered Carroll, who will also send out He's a Macho Man, fourth in both the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales. “We were hoping to make the Cup and Saucer with him; that's why I rushed him a bit into the (G1) Summer Stakes (Avie's Flatter finished fourth). That was asking a lot, to go from five furlongs to a mile, but it was better than going from five to a mile and a sixteenth. He had a rough trip, but he still showed an awful lot.”
Sovereign Award voters certainly took notice of the bay's standout rookie season.
Avie's Flatter delivered his connections a coveted trophy for his efforts, voted Canada's outstanding 2-year-old male of 2018.
Carroll, who recently became the first female trainer inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, won the 2014 Breeders' with Dalos' Ami's Holiday.
Last year, Chiefswood Stable's homebred Neepawa took top honours in the Breeders' with a front-striding victory.
Roger Attfield has the most Breeders' trainer victories with nine. His most recent triumph came with Danish Dynaformer in 2015. The biggest longshot to win the race was Miami Deco (2010), who paid $132.10.
The Breeders' is slated as Race 10 on Saturday's 12-race card. Also on tap, the $100,000 Catch a Glimpse Stakes (race seven), for two-year-old fillies, set for six-and-a-half furlongs on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course. First post time is 1:05 p.m.
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