Victory tasted twice as sweet for jockey Justin Stein after winning the 88th Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie Race Track on Tuesday evening.
“Deja vu,” said Stein after becoming a back-to-back winner of the Prince of Wales. “It feels awesome to do it again. Winning the Prince of Wales two years in a row is very, very special, and something I’ll always remember.”
Riding Velocitor, he had to play catchup to the odds-on favourite Paramount Prince, who bolted out to an early lead. Having already won the King’s Plate last month, Paramount Prince was attempting to capture the second jewel of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown, but Velocitor dashed those hopes with a strong ride down the stretch. Paramount Prince finished third in the Stakes behind Kaukokaipuu.
“I sent him out there and made sure we were right in touch with Paramount Prince, that way I had options,” said Stein, who wasn’t worried about trailing for the first stretch. “He’s got a really high cruising speed.”
Trained by Kevin Attard for owners and breeders Al and Bill Ulwelling, the son of Mor Spirit improved on a fourth-place finish in the King’s Plate, returning $17.70 to backers.
The exciting 11-horse race, the largest field in two decades, drove wagering to a record high for the track. For the first time in its history, wagering on the Prince of Wales Stakes topped a million dollars, with on-track and off-track wagering combining to reach $1.05 million on the second jewel of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown. The track nearly doubled its previous record of $635,000.
Despite a heavy downpour earlier in the day, the race card attracted a strong crowd and plenty of wagering both on and off the track. At $3.48 million in total wagering, the Sept. 12 card was the largest wagering handle in Fort Erie’s 126-year history.
The Prince of Wales undercard featured two $100,000 Ontario Sired Heritage Series Stakes.
One Bay Hemingway and jockey Luis Contreras were victorious after a photo finish in the Lake Erie Stakes for trainer Sid Attard and owner Norseman Racing Stable.
Fashionably Fab was first across the finish line in the Rondeau Bay Stakes. The three-year-old daughter of Silent Name was guided to victory by jockey Patrick Husbands for Terra Racing Stable and trainer Kevin Attard.
Racing highlights also included two Fort Erie Cup races. Trish the Dish secured this year’s Molson Cup. The seven-year-old English Channel mare was piloted by jockey Sunny Singh for Trinity Racing Stables Inc., and trainer Louie Capi.
Vinnie Van Go and jockey Melanie Pinto were victorious in the Le Cinquieme Essai Cup for trainer Julie Mathes and owners Joseph and Charles Loiacano.
Live racing continues at Fort Erie Race Track on Mondays and Tuesdays through to Oct. 16. The track’s final event is a Halloween-themed day, Track-O-Lantern, on Oct. 9 where kids in costume can come trick-or-treat around the historic border oval.
For more information visit www.forterieracing.com.