McLean’s Selection for the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie Today

Day Results1-0-0-0
2018 Overall 1021377-376-449
Win % of Top Pick37.00%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.30%

I had breakfast this morning with my great friend, and expert handicapper Ed DeRosa. Just like being around the guy. Nice. Informative. Enlightening. Loves horse racing. And, doesn’t appear to mind listening to me ramble on and on about stories from racing past.

I asked him his thoughts about today’s Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie. After all, Ed grew up in and around the Cleveland area. Vacationed as a kid at Niagara Falls. Figured he had to know about Fort Erie, and how the track may play. Figured he had to have an opinion. Figured he had already handicapped the race, which I had not.

So, I asked.

And, I got the answer I was expecting.

Wonder Gadot.

Didn’t surprise me any. I don’t think it will surprise anybody today, either. After all, the “Wonder Girl” is coming off a near 5-length victory over some really nice colts in the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine in her last out, and there is little doubt that she will be heavily favored to take the second jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown in this spot today.

But before we go ahead and crown Wonder Gadot as the winner, we should consider several key issues:

One, she drew the one. In the concise field of only 6, that should not be a real issue. But…There’s always a but, right? It is still the rail. And, Wonder Gadot does like to be forwardly placed in the running. While she doesn’t have to have the lead, as evidenced in the Queen’s Plate, she does like to be forwardly placed. And, breaking from the rail could be an important ingredient for this race and Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez.

Two, the last time a filly won the Prince of Wales Stakes was in 2012. It was Dixie Strike. And, the last time that the Queen’s Plate winner captured the Prince of Wales Stakes was even longer ago. That was in 2003 when both the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown was captured by Wando — who turned out to be the last horse to win all three legs. So, it is not as easy as some may believe.

Third, there is the horse Aheadbyacentury — who was second in the Plate last time out to Wonder Gadot. The rider here is none other than Luis Contreras, who is seeking his third straight Prince of Wales victory. He, along with the owners and trainer, won this same race a year ago with Cool Catomine.

So…could all those facts add up to one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Stakes?

I don’t think so, either, Ed. I am with you. More ways than one.

If we can get even money or better, I think we load up with the “Wonder Girl” and play over the 2-4-5.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene

That’s very, very special to do it at Tampa Bay,” an emotional O’Connell said after Well Defined’s two-and-three-quarter length victory from a charging Kentucky Wildcat in 1:42.70 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth, .26 seconds off 2018 winner Flameaway’s stakes record. So Alive finished a distant third, with the 19-10 favorite, Knicks Go, getting nipped for fourth at the wire by Counter Offer.

“He’s had little things that have happened and he’s grown up mentally and physically, and today he showed up with his game face on,” O’Connell said of the Florida-bred Well Defined, a son of With Distinction by Fru Fru, out of Medaglia d’Oro. “I like this horse a lot and the decision (on what’s next) will be up to the owners (Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge, LLC), but we just want him healthy. Maybe the (Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9) – who knows.”

“His rear end slipped out from underneath him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile,” she said, “and he was compromised on early position when he ran in the Mucho Macho Man and got bottled up inside. He’s a young horse who is improving, mind-wise and everything-wise.”

  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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