2023 Canadian Triple Crown Betting Odds
As well as talent, versatility is an essential attribute for the unique horse racing challenge that is the Canadian Triple Crown, which was officially recognized in 1959.
The three races that make up the Triple Crown are run over the same distances as the US Triple Crown counterpart, but they are uniquely run over three different surfaces.
Just as in tennis where only the very best players can win at the top level on grass, clay, and hard court surfaces, the equine challenge of the Canadian Triple Crown is just as demanding with the three races run on Tapeta, Dirt, and Grass surfaces.
The Triple Crown races are open to three-old-old horses that were foaled in Canada, and it is the ultimate challenge for equine greatness there.
What Are the Triple Crown Races?
The Canadian Triple Crown is comprised of the Queens’s Plate (Tapeta surface, 1 1/4 miles) at Woodbine, the Prince of Wales Stakes (Dirt surface, 1 3/16 miles) at Fort Erie racetrack and the final leg is the Breeders’ Stakes (Grass surface, 1 1/2 miles) back at Woodbine.
Let’s look at the three races in more detail:
The Queen’s Plate
The first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown is the historic Queen’s Plate, run at Woodbine and a race that has been staged over a variety of distances since its inception in 1860. Since 1957, it has been run over 10 furlongs and on the artificial Tapeta surface since 2016.
It is usually staged in June or July and is open to a maximum of 17 runners. The Queen’s Plate is Canada’s most famous race and it is also the oldest one having been continuously run since 1860.
The race is open to colts and fillies (who receive a 5lb allowance) and they currently race for a purse of one million Canadian dollars.
37 fillies have won the race, the most recent being Wonder Gandot in 2018, who went on to win the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown – the Prince of Wales Stakes.
The race has featured many famous winners but perhaps most notable of all was Northern Dancer who won the 1964 Queen’s Plate in his final race before becoming one of the most successful stallions of all time.
There is no clear winning trainer or jockey in the race. Harry Giddings Jr and Roger Attfield have trained eight winners in the saddle – Avelino Gomez, Sandy Hawley, and Robin Platts have all won the race on four occasions.
The most recent running of the race in 2021 saw a win for Safe Conduct who narrowly justified favoritism. In 2020 Mighty Heart won the race in a course record time (since the move to Tapeta) of 2 minutes 1.98 seconds.
The Prince of Wales Stakes
The second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown and the only leg not staged at Woodbine, The Prince of Wales Stakes, is staged at the Fort Erie Race Track in Ontario.
Just like the first leg, the Queen’s Plate, the race is restricted to three-year-old horses that were bred in Canada.
The race is run on a dirt surface of just over 1 mile, with a prize purse of around 400,000 Canadian dollars.
The race was first run in 1929 at the now-defunct Thorncliffe Park Raceway – it was first staged at Fort Erie in 1959.
Gordon J. McCann holds the training record with seven wins in the race from 1951 to 1988, whilst Hugo Dittfach has ridden a record five wins from 1960 to 1967.
1994 winner Bruce’s Mill holds the course record of 1 minute 53.80 seconds when he romped home by seven lengths. The slowest winning time ever recorded was by Crowning Honors in 1985 when the rain arrived and conditions were described as a “swamp”.
In 1995, Barbara J. Minshall became the first woman to train the winner of a Canadian Triple Crown race when Kiridashi was victorious.
The Breeders’ Stakes
The all-important third and final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown is the Breeders’ Stakes staged back at Woodbine, but this time on the grass course.
It’s also the longest race of the three-run over one and a half miles and a full lap of the E. P. Taylor Turf Course.
The race is usually staged in August and again only open to three-year-olds who were bred in Canada. Fillies receive an allowance of 5lb from the colts/geldings.
The race has a rich history in its own right. It was first staged in 1889, forming part of the Triple Crown when the series was created in 1959.
Trainer Roger Attfield saddled an incredible nine winners of the race from 1985 to 2015 whilst jockey Patrick Husbands holds the record in the saddle with five winners from 2003 to 2021.
1995 winner Charlie’s Dewan holds the course record in 2 minutes 26.4 seconds.
Whilst the race has crowned Triple Crown winners, spare a thought for the five horses who came into the race bidding to win the Triple Crown having won the first two legs but failed on the grass surface.
1970: Almoner (2nd)
1975: L’Enjoleur (3rd)
1976: Norcliffe (5th)
1986: Golden Choice (3rd)
2000: Scatter The Gold (3rd)
Betting Strategy For The Canadian Triple Crown
Heart Says Yes, Head Says No
Everyone wants to see a champion crowned but the stats firmly tell us that a Triple Crown winner is much more likely NOT to happen in any given year.
Indeed, between 1964 and 1988 (25 long years) and from 2004 (18 years and counting) there has been no Canadian Triple Crown winner.
The percentage call for punters is that it will not happen, but this can be played in favor of the other runners.
The reason being is that the horse that wins the first leg (the Queen’s Plate) is likely to be hyped going into the second leg and overbet – meaning that there can be better value elsewhere in the field.
Three Separate Races
Treat each leg as a separate challenge. Remember you are trying to find the winner of three separate races and not a Triple Crown winner.
If your calculations point to the same horse for each leg, however, you may well have unlocked the next Triple Crown champion!
What makes the Canadian Triple Crown such a challenge for horses and punters is the fact the race is run on three totally different surfaces and often they might be racing on that surface for the first time in the early stages of their careers.
As such, a fair amount of educated guesswork is required and there is no better starting point than a horse’s pedigree.
Looking for sires and dams with proven form on the different surfaces and distances is a sensible starting point but it’s not guaranteed as progeny don’t always inherit the same preferences.
Horses For Courses
Given two of the Canadian Triple Crown races are staged at Woodbine, it would certainly pay to look for horses with course experience at Canada’s premier track.
Notable Winners Of The Canadian Triple Crown
There have been seven Canadian Triple Crown winners since 1959:
1959: New Providence
1989: With Approval
1991: Dance Smartly
The golden era was unquestionably 1989-1991 when there were three Triple Crown winners in as many years – With Approval, Izvestia and Dance Smartly.
In 2020 trainer Josie Carrol won all three legs of the Canadian Triple Crown but not with the same horse. Mighty Heart won the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes with Belichick winning the Breeders’ Stakes.
Canadian Triple Crown Trends
Whilst, unsurprisingly, the fillies don’t have a strong overall record against the colts and geldings, the more recent trends unravel a different picture. In the first leg, the Queen’s Plate, for example, four of the last 10 winners have been fillies.
This suggests that it might be quality over quantity when it comes to fillies being entered with only the very cream of the crop being campaigned at the most prestigious prizes in Canadian horse racing.
Certainly, selecting a filly in any of the three races is hardly a negative and you will also be getting the valuable fillies’ weight allowance on your side too.
There has only been one filly to win the Canadian Triple Crown to date – that was Dance Smartly in 1991.
It’s worth remembering that the fillies also have their own Triple Crown target as an alternative. Called the Triple Tiara, it was inaugurated in 1999; combining the Woodbine Oaks, Bison City Stakes and the wonderfully-named Wonder Where Stakes.
It’s only been won once – by Sealy Hill in 2007.
Taking A Long Shot
Shocks in the three races are not uncommon so don’t be put off big-priced runners. It’s still a very early stage of a horse’s career and certainly not uncommon for runners to show a huge improvement on previous efforts.
One of the biggest-priced recent winners was Miami Deco at 65/1 when winning the Breeders’ Stakes in 2010.
He was the second-biggest priced runner in the field – only Abogado was bigger at 79/1 and he finished a creditable fourth.
The Queen’s Plate also threw up a big-priced winner in 2002 when TJ’s Lucky Moon won at 82/1.
It’s not uncommon for different jockeys to be on board for the different legs of the Canadian Triple Crown and it shouldn’t be considered a negative. Of the seven Triple Crown winners since 1959 three winners have had multiple jockeys in the three races.
Popular Bets For The Canadian Tripple Crown
The general trend in the Canadian Triple Crown races is that the number of runners decreases in each leg.
As such, the Queen’s Plate tends to get the most number of runners with it being the first leg. This lends itself well to place betting where you will get a return if your horse finishes in the frame.
Exactas (first two) and Trifectas (first three) are also popular betting options that can often return big dividends when the number of runners are high. Bets can be placed online.