It has certainly been a season to remember for trainer Josie Carroll, as she picked up a personal sweep of the Canadian Triple Crown. This was largely down to the success of Mighty Heart, who had landed the first two opening and had look destined for the Triple Crown before being beaten by his stablemate, Belichick.
Mighty Heart really came out of nowhere this year and the horse with just one eye has taken the Canadian racing scene by storm. It has been a modern feel-good story, with the horse winning the opening two races of the Canadian Triple Crown – the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine and the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie – and then heading into the final leg as the even-money favourite for the Breeders’ Stakes. That is something that no one could have expected at the start of the season.
The Canadian Triple Crown has not been won since Wando back in 2003. The 17 year wait just shows the difficulty of the task at hand for horses to land the trio of races in the same season. It was an incredible achievement for Mighty Heart to enter the final leg with the potential to do so.
Despite the positive expectations for the horse, the key danger appeared to be coming from the same stable at Josie Carroll’s yard with the fast-improving Belichick well-fancied for the race. The latter was the 7-to-2 second favourite behind his stablemate, the short-priced favourite Mighty Heart. With the two key horses in the betting, it looked like Carroll was set for victory in what would mean a sweep of the Canadian Triple Crown races. This also meant, however, that she was in the position of potentially costing Mighty Heart the Triple Crown win due to the danger of his stablemate.
Carroll voiced her concerns with her comments prior to the race. She stated, “I think I would have really mixed emotions if that were to happen. Putting it in human terms, it would be like you coaching two kids and one has a chance to do something extraordinary but it’s the other one that you are bringing along who steps up. You are proud of both of them but there’s going to be a bittersweet factor, of course.” This shows just how much this meant to her, but she clearly felt that her other runner had a real chance of upsetting the favourite in his Triple Crown attempt.
Of Belichick she said, “Belichick is a strong, athletic horse. He is a horse I expected from his first start would be a dominant horse on this circuit. It ended up taking him longer to come around than I expected. Certainly, he’s just coming into his own.” This came as the horse was improving fast, despite still remaining a maiden. That included running second to Mighty Heart in the Queen’s Plate when being beaten 7 ½ lengths.
It proved to be a winning day for Belichick, who finally broke his maiden with a Breeders’ Stakes victory. This also saw Mighty Heart struggle and not settle and ultimately finish back in seventh of the eleven-runner field. Belichick, on the other hand, proved to be a popular winner, with much support coming in for the horse on the different Canadian platforms available. He was fifth down the backside but continued to travel ominously well under Luis Contreras. Belichick then made a three-wide bid for victory and pushed clear to maintain his advantage and win by a comfortable four lengths in 2:32:51, which came as positive news for punters, as the horse was a popular selection.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>It’s Belichick with the upset in the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/BreedersStakes?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#BreedersStakes</a> – final leg of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown! <a href=”https://t.co/ENY4lqPuV3″>pic.twitter.com/ENY4lqPuV3</a></p>— Woodbine Racetrack (@WoodbineTB) <a href=”https://twitter.com/WoodbineTB/status/1320120591257640961?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 24, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
It was an impressive victory and another much-improved performance, which also meant a sweep of the Triple Crown races for Carroll. The win also marked a second victory for the trainer, who also won the Breeders’ Stakes with Ami’s Holiday back in 2014. This was a memorable victory for the Canadian Hall of Fame trainer and there is no doubt that the horse is clearly one to follow moving forward, following this eye-catching victory.