Breeders’ Stakes contender Aheadbyacentury gallops over the E.P.Taylor turf course under jockey Luis Contreras at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Woodbine Entertainment Group, Michael Burns

Aheadbyacentury looking for Triple Crown breakthrough in the Breeders’ Stakes

The consistent Aheadbyacentury has $513,800 in career earnings, including $311,250 this year thanks in large part to his Triple Crown performances.

John Ross watched Aheadbyacentury come close in the first two jewels of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown.

With his horse’s dominant rival skipping the Breeders’ Stakes, the veteran trainer is hoping their time as bridesmaids is finally up.

After finishing second to standout filly Wonder Gadot in both the Queen’s Plate and the Prince of Wales Stakes, Aheadbyacentury is the early 5/2 favourite for Saturday’s $400,000 gallop over 1 1/2 miles on Woodbine Racetrack’s turf course.

“He keeps getting better and better,” Ross said. “I like the way we’re going.”

The consistent Aheadbyacentury, with two seconds and two thirds in five starts in 2018, has $513,800 in career earnings, including $311,250 this year thanks in large part to his Triple Crown performances.

A colt named after the Tragically Hip song that closed the iconic Canadian band’s final concert in 2016, the three-year-old son of Midnight Lute has a pair of wins, two second-place finishes and three third-place showings in nine-career races.

“He’s the only horse that’s been in all three legs of this Triple Crown,” said Ross, who co-owns Aheadbyacentury with Jack of Hearts Racing. ”A lot of horses don’t go the whole way like this.”

Instead of trying to secure the Breeders’ for the first Canadian Triple Crown since 2003 when Wando accomplished the feat, Wonder Gadot is instead preparing to run in the more lucrative Grade 1 Travers Stakes in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Aug. 25 against a full field of male horses.

Related: Justify’s Triple Crown run caps magical run for B.C. breeder

Related: Horse owned by B.C. breeder wins prestigious Ascot race

Aheadbyacentury and jockey Luis Contreras finished 4 3/4 lengths behind Wonder Gadot in the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate on Woodbine’s synthetic track on June 30. The pair were then beaten by 5 3/4 lengths in muddy conditions on dirt at the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales in Fort Erie, Ont., on July 24.

Ross said he understands the decision not to race Wonder Gadot in the 128th running of the Breeders’ Stakes, but would have welcomed getting another crack at the filly that has five victories in 13 career starts for more than $1.4 million in earnings.

“We would have accepted the challenge,” he said. ”The case is she went somewhere else.”

While the distance of the 1 1/2-mile Breeders’ Stakes — the longest of the three Triple Crown races — isn’t a concern for Ross, the fact Aheadbyacentury has never run on grass in competition leaves a big unknown heading into Saturday.

“There’s just some things in the back of your mind,” the trainer said. ”You hope that he likes turf.

“It’s always a concern when you’re switching courses.”

Hot Cash, a filly trained by Michael Doyle, sits as the early second pick for Saturday at 7/2, followed by Graham Motion’s Say the Word (3/1) and Mark Casse’s Neepawa (6/1).

A newcomer to the Triple Crown, Hot Cash won the Maiden Special Weight at Woodbine over 1 1/16 miles on July 27, Say the Word was sixth in the Queen’s Plate, and Neepawa finished third in the 1 1/8-mile Toronto Cup three weeks ago.

Casse, who also trains Wonder Gadot, was bullish on Neepawa heading into the Queen’s Plate as a 15/1 longshot before having to settle for 10th.

“He ran off early on,” said Casse, who didn’t enter the colt in the Prince of Wales. ”He wasn’t supposed to be that close to the pace and I think the pace was too hot. It took a toll on him.”

Neepawa has run six times this year, wracking up a win and two third-place finishes for $59,482 in earnings.

The son of Scat Daddy has been in the money in three of his seven starts on turf, including his only career victory back in January. All told, Neepawa has run 10 career races, grabbing that win, a second and three third-place finishes for $117,614 in earnings.

“He’s a horse that one of these days we’re going to get lucky with,” Casse. “We’ll need him to relax and if we get him to do that he won’t have a problem.”

It’s a feeling Ross shares when it comes to Aheadbyacentury — a horse that he feels, quite frankly, is due.

“He has the temperament,” he said. ”He’s a cool horse and he’s a tough horse. He takes everything well.

“We’re very fortunate.”

The field, with post, horse, jockey and odds, includes: 1) Ginger Sky (Emma-Jayne Wilson, 12/1); 2) Eskiminzin (Sheena Ryan, 20/1); 3) Absolution (Alan Garcia, 20/1); 4) Real Dude (Gary Boulanger, 8/1); 5) Aheadbyacentury (Luis Contreras, 5/2); 6) Say the Word (Rafael Hernandez, 3/1); 7) Neepawa (Jerome Lermyte, 6/1); 8) Flight Deck (David Moran, 10/1); 9) Hot Cash (Eurico Rosa da Silva, 7/2).

— With files from Canadian Press reporter Dan Ralph

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

NDP pushing for 10 days of paid sick days for all working Canadians

NDP has made the issue a requirement for their support of the Liberal government

No plans to rebuild Hardy Bay Industrial Centre after fire, owner says

A massive fire burnt down the old building in April

Port Hardy Fire Rescue adapts to new realities amidst COVID-19

Don’t forget to follow Port Hardy Fire Rescue on Facebook.

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Most Read