Two down, one to go.

MIGHTY HEART, the one-eyed wonder horse, Willy, if you will, set his sights on Clayton late on the final turn of the $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes on the dirt track at Fort Erie racetrack and surged clear to win the 1 3/16 mile race by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:55.59.

The impressive victory followed up the colt’s 7 1/2 length romp on the Queen’s Plate 17 days ago and sets him up for a chance at a Canadian Triple Crown sweep October 24 at Woodbine in the Breeders’ Stakes on grass.

Clayton, who was was third in the Queen’s Plate, finished second after jumping out to a clear lead into the stretch after a wide journey. Dotted Line, part of an early pace battle, was third over Bold Victory.

Owned by Larry Cordes of Port Perry ON, trained by Josie Carroll and ridden by Daisuke Fukumoto, Mighty Heart was bred by Cordes, foaled at Curraghmore Farm of Vera Simpson and Mike Dube and is a son of Dramedy – Emma’s Bullseye by City Place.

“I just see this horse getting better all the time,” said Carroll. “The more he learns about running, it’s just very exciting. These kinds of horses don’t come along that often.”

Carroll, who was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2019, was quick to credit her entire team at her Woodbine barn.

“Everybody has worked really hard. Des McMahon has done a great job galloping this horse and giving him confidence. Siobahn Brown, his groom, has been very attentive. Assistant Sue Lorimer has really kept it all together for us, too.

“You like to see them get credit; you don’t get horses to do this alone.”

Before the race, Carroll knew it was not likely Mighty Heart would get the lead to himself early in the Prince of Wales as he did in the Plate.

“I talked to Daisuke before the race and I told him I didn’t expect he would find himself alone on the lead today. I  thought there was going to be more speed.”

The young rider tucked Mighty Heart in behind four horses in front of him and bided his time.

“Early on I was okay with how he was going. I was worried whether he was going to handle being in there tight and getting the dirt [in his face]. But he was handling it really well.

“Then, as [he’s] getting to the end of the backside you’re thinking, ‘okay, we got to find a way through here’. Daisuke did the right thing; he tipped him out and found a path. For a young rider I thought he rode the race very professionally.”

In the winner’s circle Cordes was surrounded by his family, daughter Angela and granddaughters Jennifer and Megan Perrin and his partner Kimberley Rutschmann.

“He was just elated,” said Carroll. “He is such a family man and I think he was so happy to have his family all around him, his daughter and granddaughters.”

Cordes has always had horses of one type or another and raced a few horses in the 1980s and ’90s. He buckled down to try his hand at breeding about 10 years ago with a just a couple of mares. Emma’s Bulleye, who sadly passed away earlier this year foaling an Ami’s Holiday youngster, is the dam of Mighty Heart. Mighty Heart had his left eye removed when he was only a couple of weeks old after he was found to have it damaged while out in a paddock with his mum.

Earlier this year when the colt began is career in New Orleans at Fair Grounds, a nagging impacted wolf tooth gave the colt problems in his first two races. Once he arrived at Woodbine this spring with the tooth removed, the scrappy little bay has blossomed into a remarkable racehorse.

And as long as the colt emerges well from his Prince of Wales victory, the Breeders’, at 1 1/2 miles on turf, will be his next race.

“It’s a lot to ask of a horse, these three races in a short time,” said Carroll. “But I guess that is what makes it special.”