Eleven Set to Run in Nearctic Stakes
Category : News
Sun 13/10/2013 - 09:21 EDT
Four Ontario-breds will face seven others on Sunday in the $300,000 Grade I Nearctic Stakes, going six furlongs on the EP Taylor Turf course at Woodbine. The race is the final ‘Win and You’re In’ event for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, with the winner receiving fees-paid entry into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint race, to be held on Saturday, November 2 at Santa Anita. Two Nearctic runners in Fatal Bullet and Excaper have previous BC experience, with Excaper finishing second in the 2011 Juvenile Turf.
Longhunter ships in with a shot
Based on a the strength of a second-place finish two starts back in the Grade II Play the King Stakes, Excaper has been made the top morning line choice for the Nearctic at 3-1. Lightly raced in 2013, Excaper opened the season with a win in upper AOC company, and most recently ran sixth in the Grade I Woodbine Mile. Second choice in the ML is the UK-bred (although all his racing has been stateside for the past three years) Longhunter (7-2), who most recently won the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash.
Riding the River comfortable at this level
While many in the field will be making their first lifetime start in a graded-stakes event, one who has been consistently campaigning at or above this level is Riding the River (5-1) for trainer Dave Coty. He’s run in ten straight Grade I or II events, and he’s finished in the top three in three-of-five this year, including a win as defending champion in the Grade II King Edward Stakes, and fast-closing third at seven furlongs in the Play the King. He was just a half-length back of Excaper in that one, and finished ahead of that rival in the Woodbine Mile.
Players trying to look beyond prohibitive favorite Tepin in the September 17 Woodbine Mile will surely have their work cut out for them as the superstar mare tackles seven rivals on the grass.
The second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown goes Tuesday night from Fort Erie race track, where Sir Dudley Digges will try to take another step toward Canadian racing history.
On Sunday, Woodbine will host the $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes, Canada’s most prestigious race. Restricted to horses foaled in Canada, the classic mile and a quarter contest has drawn a field of thirteen three-year-olds.
A spectacular card of graded stakes action has been assembled for Saturday at Belmont Park and the $1 million Ogden Phipps is shaping up to be one of the most competitive races of the day. The Grade 1 event for fillies and mares will be contested at a mile and a sixteenth.