River Seven Earns Triple Crown Respect
Category : News
Mon 19/08/2013 - 14:16 EDT
While the 2013 Canadian Triple Crown failed to see a champion take all three races with three different winners – Midnight Aria in the Queen’s Plate, Uncaptured in the Prince of Wales Stakes, and Up With the Birds in Sunday’s Breeders’ Stakes – it may have produced new-found respect for one of the horses that didn’t win. River Seven, a gelding out of Johannesburg, was the only runner game enough to tackle all three legs of the series, managing to finish second in the last two.
Grey Stakes win puts Seven on Triple Crown path
Trained by Nicholas Gonzalez, River Seven came into the Triple Crown with one impressive victory to his credit, a win in the 2012 Grade III (Can.) Grey Stakes last November on Woodbine’s Polytrack. That win, over a field that included Uncaptured, had his connections thinking big, and was enough to launch him on his Triple Crown bid. The Grey proved to be a highwater mark for River Seven, as he was well beaten in his next four starts, including an eighth-place finish in the Plate Trial, and a tenth-place finish in the Queen’s Plate.
Best of the rest in the final two legs
Undeterred, Gonzalez sent him to the gate for the second leg, the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie. Forcing the pace, River Seven pressed pacesetter Power Phil through three-quarters, and managed to gain the lead, only to be passed mid-stretch by Uncaptured. In the 1 ½ miles Breeders’ Stakes, River Seven broke slowly, but managed to work his way into contention by the mile marker. Passed by the winner with a quarter-mile to go, he managed to sustain enough of a bid to take the second place money by a neck, the fourth time he’s been second in his nine-race career.
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.