Plate champ will be tested

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

The easy part for Queen's Plate champion Eye of the Leopard is that he will have to face a tiny field of five other three-year-olds in the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

The tougher part is he'll have to take on the two horses who finished right behind him in the Plate when he heads to Fort Erie for Sunday's $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes as the 9-5 morning-line favourite.

Trainer Mark Frostad believes the son of A.P. Indy is up for the challenge.

"He's an improving horse who gets better every time he runs," Frostad said. "I was worried he may not be seasoned enough (in the Plate). He was still a little green. You could see that in the stretch. He started drifting out and ... it nearly cost us the race."

Frostad has been training Eye of the Leopard on Woodbine's dirt training track, an important move given all of the colt's four starts have been on synthetic surfaces. He doesn't plan to train over the Fort Erie dirt prior to Sunday's race.

Ready to pounce should the favourite falter are the two that finished right behind him at Woodbine. Mr. Foricos Two U, who almost stole the Plate along the rail, is back for jockey Mike Smith and trainer Catherine Day-Phillips as is third-place finisher, filly Milwaukee Appeal.

The latter, an impressive winner of the Woodbine Oaks, had a little traffic trouble at the head of the stretch in the Plate that her trainer, Scott Fairlie, believes may have cost her the race.

"We were unlucky with our trip," Fairlie said. "We were boxed in and when she got clear ... we were forced to go inside. She ran a big race. It's unfortunate because I thought she was the best horse."


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