The first major organised horse race in Canada took place in Quebec City in 1767 and the sport developed with the establishment of the Upper Canadian Turf Club 60 years later.
The development of the Canadian Triple Crown – Queen’s Plate, Prince of Wales Stakes, and Breeders’ Stakes – around the beginning of the 20th Century led to a boom in horse racing’s popularity and these races still attract huge crowds and betting turnover today.
Here we look at the Breeders’ Stakes, the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, in detail before giving a few pointers on how to find a value bet.
The Breeders’ Stakes is the second oldest of Canada’s Triple Crown races, with the first contest being held in 1889. It became part of the Triple Crown after the inauguration of the Prince of Wales Stakes in 1929.
Held in August each year at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, it is a race for three-year-olds and is run over one mile four furlongs.
That makes it the longest race of the Triple Crown and it is also the only one of the three races to be run on turf.
The Breeders’ Stakes has a purse of CA$500,000, making it the second most valuable race of the Triple Crown behind the Queen’s Plate.
Horses that race in the Breeders’ Stakes have usually competed in the previous legs of the Triple Crown, as was the case with 2019 winner Tone Broke, who had finished third in the Queen’s Plate before winning the Prince of Wales Stakes and following up in the Breeders’ Stakes.
However, 2021 winner British Royalty had only won a maiden before running out an unlikely winner at odds of around 25/1.
It was a shame for the back page headline writers that he didn’t carry off the Prince of Wales Stakes that year!
There is currently no horse betting market available for betting on the 2022 Breeders’ Stakes.
With the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown coming up in the early summer it may be best to wait until they have been run before placing any Breeders’ Stakes bets.
The Breeders’ Stakes is not a handicap, meaning all horses carry level weights.
In the last 10 years, eight of the last 10 winners of the Breeders’ Stakes have run in the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Queen’s Plate.
What’s more six of those eight had placed in the Queen’s Plate, which suggests that that contest provides a much better guide to finding the winner of this race than the second leg – the Prince of Wales Stakes.
The reason for that may be that the Queen’s Plate is run on an all-weather surface, while the Prince of Wales Stakes is run on dirt at Fort Eire. All-weather form tends to transfer better to turf than dirt form does.
With this in mind, it is worth paying close attention to the outcome of the Queen’s Plate. Watch a replay of the race back, and if you see any horses that looked to be a bit unlucky then, they may offer some value if lining up in the Breeders’ Stakes.
The ground is one of the most important considerations when betting on horse racing and especially on races run on turf, like the Breeders’ Stakes.
Knowing an individual horse’s ability to run to its best on a variety of different ground surfaces is essential before placing a bet.
The ground can vary from dry, quick ground usually referred to in the going description as anything firm, good-to-firm, or good, to rain-softened ground that could be called yielding, soft, or heavy.
In the last 10 years, the Breeders’ Stakes has been run on firm ground six times and on good ground once. The ground has been described as yielding three times.
That suggests the Breeders’ Stakes is often run on quick ground and so the thing to do is to look for horses that have performed to their best on that type of ground in the past.
Black type races are stakes races, which often attract the best horses in Canada. Finding a horse that has previously run well in a black type race proves that you are placing a bet on a horse that has the ability to compete in a race like the Breeders’ Stakes.
To date, there have been 12 horses who have claimed the Breeders’ Stakes and in doing so won a historic Canadian Triple Crown.
Queensway became the first winner in 1932, and there were a spate of Triple Crown winners that followed in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.
In 1989, trainer Roger Attfield won the first of a record three Canadian Triple Crowns, when With Approval swept to a seven-and-a-half length success in the Breeders’ Stakes. It was a success made all the more impressive by the fact it was only With Approval’s second ever run on turf.
Attfield won his final Triple Crown in 1993 with Peteski and since then there has only been one winner of all three races when Wando emerged triumphant in 2003.
Attfield holds the record for Breeders’ Stakes wins with an incredible nine, the most recent coming in the form of Danish Dynaformer in 2015.
Aside from Triple Crown winners, there have been many other notable horses and performances in the Breeders’ Stakes over the years.
In 2005, Jambalaya surged clear of his rivals to win by eight lengths.
2011 winner Pender Harbour was equally impressive, if in a different way, as after a gruelling win by the narrowest of margins at Fort Eire in the Prince Of Wales Stakes, he returned three weeks later to cling on by a nose again in the final leg of the Triple Crown.
The most famous recent winner of the Breeders’ Stakes is arguably the William Mott-trained Channel Maker, who won in 2017 and has subsequently gone on to triumph in four Grade Ones in the US and win over £2.5 million in prize money.
For any horse race, the type of bet you place is an important consideration.
This is because every race market is different, due to the number of horses running and the odds of those horses. Knowing the best bet to place in different circumstances can improve your chance of winning.
Here are a few common horse racing bets.
A bet placed on one horse in a race.
The simplest type of straight bet is a win bet. This should be placed on a horse if you think it holds a good chance of winning a race and you will only receive a return if your horse crosses the line first.
A place bet gives you slightly more room for error, as you receive a return if your horse finishes in the first three (depending on how many runners there are). The odds for this kind of bet are much lower in comparison to a horse’s win odds.
An each way bet combines both a win bet and a place bet. This means you can receive a return if your horse wins and also if it is placed. In big fields, this is often a good way to play, as you have more of an insurance if your horse doesn’t win.
There are two types of forecast: a straight forecast and a reverse forecast.
With a straight forecast, you select two horses to finish first and second in a race. They must finish in the correct order to win the bet.
With a reverse forecast, the two horses can finish in any order.
There are also straight and reverse tricasts.
A straight tricast challenges you to predict the first three horses in a race in the correct order.
A reverse tricast means your three selections can finish in any order.
Eight of the last 10 Breeders’ Stakes winners had won or at least placed in a black type race before their success in the final leg of the Triple Crown.
This shows the importance of siding with a horse with experience and a significant level of ability when placing a bet on the Breeders’ Stakes.