The Josie Carroll-trained horse Belichick managed to win the Breeders Stakes at Woodbine race track, representing the first victory of its racing career. This provided a handsome $400,000 payout; however, this win did unfortunately see a loss for the great Mighty Heart, as the Breeders Stakes was the missing piece to winning the entire OLG Canadian Triple Crown.
The old saying ‘One man’s loss is another man’s gain’ (or in this case, woman’s) definitely is relevant here. Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Carroll celebrated Belichick’s bittersweet win to the fullest, however, as her intuition about Belichick’s talent was very much proven correct.
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There was no question that the one-eyed Mighty Heart had put all his effort into attempting to secure the Triple Crown. He definitely did put forth a great effort and as Carroll quoted for Sky Sports ‘raced his little heart out.’ The horse had a strong lead at the beginning, and was the even-money favourite due to his previous $1 million Queen’s Plate win. The punters and his fans believed that the Breeders Stake would be his, too, due to such a strong track record.
Mighty Heart led the race for a mile, but ultimately ran out of energy to maintain the lead and finished in seventh place. Some say it was his enthusiasm to start out full steam in the beginning that was his downfall. Others suggested he was just worn out from the previous two races in the Triple Crown.
However, it was apparent that the horse had used up most of his energy fighting two competitors ‒ first Kunal and then Told It All. He didn’t have the stamina to keep up the extensive lead he had, while others had saved up and relaxed during the beginning of the race. It was just bad timing, unfortunately‒ something that cannot always be avoided and managed perfectly in the world of racing.
Mighty Heart’s trainer believes that the next time the bay colt returns to racing, the same mistakes will not be repeated. Carroll assured the press that Mighty Heart has much to give in his next fight and that his loyal fans should not be too disheartened and should continue supporting him.
Belichick’s jockey Luis Contreras, a previous Triple Crown winner himself riding Inglorious and Pender Harbour in 2011, mentioned that Belichick really settled into the race well. Although sitting in eighth place after the start, he managed to maintain a speed that ultimately allowed him to win the Breeders Stakes. He performed correctly when it was counted upon the most.
Many fans may have felt their hearts sink at the beginning of the race due to how laid-back Belichick was, but at the same time, trainers and BBC Sports commentators commented on how confident the horse is when it comes to his abilities. When called upon, he immediately put the work in and steamed to seamless sweep of the other opponents.