Canadian Triple Crown
The Canadian Triple Crown, which was introduced to the racing scene in 1959, does incorporate a great number of the classic features of the world wide series: it shares the racing distances of the individual races with the United States Triple Crown, it is restricted to three-year-olds like the original English Triple Crown. However, there are also a number of distinct differences between the Canadian Triple Crown and other Triple Crown series from around the world. Firstly, the Canadian series is open not only to colts and fillies, but also to geldings, which are banned to compete in any other Triple Crown competition. Secondly, every race of the Canadian Triple Crown is conducted on a different surface, thus trialling every runner's ability to adapt to a variety of conditions.
There have been seven Canadian Triple Crown Champions since the series began: New Providence in 1959, Canebora in 1963, With Approval in 1989, Izvestia in 1990, Dance Smartly on 1991, Peteski in 1993 and most recently Wando in 2003. Interestingly three of the winners - Peteski, Izvestia and With Approval - were trained by Roger Attfield, making him the most successful trainer of the Canadian Triple Crown series.
The Queen's Plate, the first race of the Canadian Triple Crown series, celebrated its 150th year of running in 2009, which makes it North America's oldest thoroughbred horse race. The race is hosted in June and runs over a distance of 1 ¼ miles on polytrack at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario. The distance of this race has changed frequently; only since 1956 the distance has been set on its current length. Since 1995 the number of starters in the Queen's Plate was limited to 17 in order to ensure the runners safety. The track record for the Queen's Plate is to date held by 1990 Canadian Triple Crown Winner Izvestia, who completed the race in 2 minutes and 1.45 seconds.
The Prince Of Wales Stakes were inaugurated in 1929, running for 30 years before the Canadian Triple Crown was established. The race is performed on a dirt track at Fort Erie Race Track in Fort Erie, Ontario; it runs over a distance of 9 ½ furlongs and is hosted in July. It offers $500,000 prize money to the victorious three-year-old. The speed record on the track was recorded in 1994, when Bruce's Mills raced the distance of 1 mile and three-sixteenth in one minute and 53.80 seconds; a record which to date has not been broken.
The Breeders' Stakes, the last leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, has been running since 1889 and is with a distance of 1 ½ miles the longest race of the series. It is conducted on a turf, the surface thus far ignored in the series, and rewards the winner with $500,000. The Breeders' Crown is the make or break race of the series; over the years five contenders managed to win the first two races of the series, only to meet their match in the gruelling Breeders' Crown. The race takes place in August and is one of the most anticipated events of the Canadian racing season.