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Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine Features Queen’s Plate Rematch

James Murphy
by in Horses on
  • The $400,000 CAD Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine will be run on Sunday, October 2 with a scheduled post time of 5:38 PM EDT.
  • The Breeders’ Stakes features a rematch between the top two finishers in the Queen’s Plate, Safe Conduct and Riptide Rock.
  • The Breeders’ Stakes is the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown though Queen’s Plate winner Safe Conduct skipped the second leg, the Prince of Wales Stakes.

One of the top events in Canadian thoroughbred racing is on tap for Sunday as the $400,000 CAD Breeders’ Stakes will be run at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario. The race will be contested over a distance of a mile and a half on the Woodbine Tapeta synthetic surface. The Breeders’ Stakes will be the ninth race on an eleven race card at Woodbine. Another stakes event will be run with the G3 $150,000 CAD Ontario Fashion Stakes for fillies and mares three years old and up going 10th on the card. The weather in the Toronto area will be cool with a high of 67 degrees (F) and a 90% chance of rain. Most of the rain is forecast for the morning hours but there will be an approximately 50% chance of showers at post time. In theory, rain should be less of an issue on the Tapeta track.

The primary storyline for the 130th running of the Breeders’ Stakes is a rematch of the top two finishers in the Queen’s Plate on August 22. Safe Conduct held off a late charge from Riptide Rock to win the first leg of Canada’s Triple Crown by a head in a photo finish. Safe Conduct went off as a 3-1 favorite and covered the 1 1/4 miles over the Woodbine Tapeta track in 2:02.85 with three time Eclipse Award winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard. He looked to have matters well in hand as the rest of the field was tied up in traffic. That was until Riptide Rock closed strong thanks to a brilliant ride from jockey David Moran. Moran found nowhere to go at the top of the stretch and chose to go wide right down the middle of the pack. After the race, Safe Conduct’s jockey Ortiz wasn’t sure that his horse was able to hold off the late challenge of Riptide Rock:

“That was very close. I just saw somebody flying outside and I didn’t know if I won the race under the wire.”

It was Ortiz’s first victory in the Queen’s Plate, the oldest continuously run stakes in North America dating back to 1860. Both Safe Conduct and Riptide Rock would skip the second leg of Canada’s Triple Crown–the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on September 14–not wanting to run on a dirt track. Safe Conduct was previously a turf specialist but clearly likes the Tapeta surface. Trainer Phil Serpe gave Ortiz–one of the best jockeys in the business–considerable credit for gutting out the win:

“Irad did a masterful job of getting him out of that slot and getting him where he needed him, without using a lot of horse. I think the first part of the race may have been the deciding factor on that horse winning.”

Ortiz is contracted elsewhere and unavailable for Sunday’s race. The riding duties will go to Canadian jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson. Wilson is the all time leading money winner among Canadian female jockeys. She’ll be aboard Safe Conduct for the first time. Riptide Rock will also have a new rider as David Moran will be aboard the #6 horse Arttie’s Storm. Jockey Justin Stein will take over and has been aboard Riptide Rock on three previous occasions.

Trainer Sid Attard thinks that had Riptide Rock enjoyed a bit more ‘racing luck’ he could have caught Safe Conduct for the Queen’s Plate victory:

“With a little luck, he could have gotten there. He got pinched back early and had to go nine wide. He ran huge. I was so proud of him. He was a little too far back, and you had to be close and inside that day.”

Attard will saddle four horses in the race–the top two finishers in the Prince of Wales Haddassah and Harland Estate along with the fourth place finisher in that race, HC Holiday. Attard says that Haddasah is ‘maturing’ and could be primed for a strong effort:

“He’s maturing. His exercise rider, Micah Husbands, has done a good job trying to get him to relax. With a little racing experience, and just him maturing from a mental standpoint, it’s started to come together. Going a mile and a half now, it’s a different race. He can’t be too keen in the early part of the race.”

Harlan Estate started his career on turf in Southern California before venturing north of the border. He’s since raced on Tapeta and dirt tracks:

“Harlan Estate really impressed me at Fort Erie when he breezed. He worked really well over that strip and ran like he worked. It was a good stretch battle between the two horses. He has a lot of experience on turf, and he’s probably going to appreciate getting back to it. He’s pretty easy to ride in the early part of the race. I think he’s got a good chance.”

H C Holiday is a son of 2014 Breeders’ Stakes winner Ami’s Holiday and more of a question mark:

“I was a little disappointed in his race. His sire won this race. He should move forward.”

12 Canadian born horses will run in the 2021 Breeders’ Stakes. Here are the post positions and morning line odds followed by a video replay of the Queen’s Plate:

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