The 2013 Breeders' Stakes marks the final leg of Canada's triple crown in horse racing at the historic venue of Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.
While there is no threat of an individual winner of all three prestigious races—Queen's Plate winner Midnight Aria didn't even participate in the Prince of Wales Stakes—this 10-horse field will be part of a fantastic showcase over a grueling 12 furlongs on E.P. Taylor Turf Course's grass track.
Up With The Birds, who was runner-up in the Queen's Plate Stakes, is the prohibitive favorite, with 6-5 odds, but 5-2 favorite Global Express and others should pose significant competition.
Let's take a closer look at when and where the action gets underway on Sunday, along with a brief breakdown of the field and predictions for win, place and show.
When: Sunday, August 18—4:30 p.m. ET (Post Time)
Where: Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto (E.P. Taylor Turf Course)
Projecting Win, Place and Show
Win: Up With The Birds
It's hard to stray away from the favorite here, considering that Up With The Birds came in second at Woodbine in his last outing.
Jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva loves this venue, too, having won back-to-back Queen's Plate Stakes in 2009 and 2010. Although that terrain is polytrack rather than grass, it is still nevertheless a testament that this jockey can get it done in the most high-profile races.
As the Toronto Sun's Rob Longley reports, trainer Malcolm Pierce felt his horse had a great shot in the first leg of the Triple Crown but simply got going too late:
It’s a shame he didn’t get going a little bit earlier in the Queen’s Plate. It was a crazy day where we had a lot of rain, and it made the track very speed favoring, which hindered us and helped the winner...He just missed.
Now that Da Silva has had a race with this horse under his belt, look for the pacing to be better controlled by the veteran in the saddle.
Also, the 10 furlongs of the Queen's Plate is shorter than that of the Breeders' Stakes, so if Up With The Birds breaks later on, it will actually work to Pierce and Co.'s advantage.
Place: Global Express
There's no reason to stray away from the oddsmakers here, because Global Express is quite clearly the favorite's biggest threat to get to the winner's circle.
Global Express is jockeyed by Luis Contreras, who made unique history back in 2011 in winning all three triple-crown races—albeit aboard two different horses.
After winning the Queen's Plate with Inglorious, he guided Pender Harbour to victory at both the Prince of Wales and Breeders' Stakes. To dismiss a rider of Contreras' caliber would be unwise, particularly since he's in the middle of the pack and in ideal position to avoid traffic.
In a maiden-special-weight race at Woodbine in late July, the colt notched his first career win and showcased sheer dominance in winning by a whopping nine lengths, per Longley.
Combine that with the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, and it's a formula for success—if not triumph—in Toronto for Global Express.
Another recent winner at Woodbine in a maiden-special-weight race, Scipio has the benefit of not being pinned against the rail.
Pyrite Mountain is in the No. 1 post position and has respectable 6-1 odds, but jockey Gary Boulanger will be trying to work his way toward the middle in the early going to avoid being left in the dust.
That actually works to Scipio's advantage, and it's worth noting that his margin of victory in the aforementioned victory was four-and-a-half lengths (h/t BloodHorse.com).
With that type of performance under Scipio's belt, the minimal but positive results at this track bode well. The length of that race was only 1.0625 miles, which proves how much speed this colt possesses.
Scipio needs to be reined back in the early going, because he has the burst to pull off the slight upset here. If not for questions about his endurance in this unprecedentedly long race for him, it wouldn't be a stretch to see him reel off his second win in a row.