Grassy Stake is not for Eye

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

He is in the infancy of what one day may prove to be a prolific racing career, but don't expect Queen's Plate champion Eye of the Leopard to chase the Canadian Triple Crown.

The brilliantly bred colt, who rallied just in time to capture the Plate by a neck on Sunday, is being pointed to the second jewel -- the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on July 12. But even with a victory in the $500,000 border oval showcase, it is unlikely he will contest the Breeders' Stake at Woodbine in August, which would be a letdown for the final jewel.

The reason, in part, is because the final leg is raced on grass, which doesn't suit Eye of the Leopard's breeding and style.

But beyond that, trainer Mark Frostad said after the Plate that, providing the lightly raced colt continues to develop, late summer may be the time to test American-bred competition. A win in a Grade 1 race in the U.S., would make the son of A.P. Indy worth millions as a stallion prospect south of the border.

The Prince of Wales will be Eye of the Leopard's first race on a traditional dirt surface. His career debut took place on the synthetic track at Keeneland in Kentucky with the next three at Woodbine which has a similar surface.

Rate the plate

There was a huge on-track crowd at Woodbine to witness the Plate, but the TV ratings on CBC took a noticeable dip from a year ago. No doubt hurt by third-round coverage of golf's U.S. Open, the Plate drew 240,000 viewers for the public broadcaster, down from 289,000 a year ago.

Because Woodbine does not charge for admission, it is impossible to get an accurate attendance number, though estimates place this year's crowd in the 25,000 range.

Canadian content

When harness racing's North America Cup was created 26 years ago, one of the goals was to set up a showdown between top horses north and south of the border.

Most years, it's an even split of Canadian and foreign owners, but in Saturday's $1.5-million event, only two of the 10 finalists are solely owned by Canadian interests.

Locals lacking

This may be an all-time low in North America Cup history: Only one of the top 10 drivers on the Mohawk/Woodbine circuit has a drive in the richest race of the local season.

And that driver, 2007 Cup winner Jody Jamieson, has the longest shot in the race, Millionaire Cam (30-1).


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