Mighty Heart has a chance today to be the 13th Canadian Triple Crown winner. The three-year-old colt won the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, returning to Woodbine for the Breeders’ Stakes. (TSN 5-6 pm ET)
The Canadian Triple Crown is a test of a horse’s ability at different lengths and on different surfaces. The Queen’s Plate is 1¼ miles on a synthetic track, the Prince of Wales 1 3/16 miles on dirt and the Breeders’ Stakes 1½ miles on turf. So a horse has to be equally adept with all three surfaces and lengths. A test for champions.
The three races have been run since 1929. But they didn’t formally become known as the Triple Crown until 1959. The five winners in those first 30 years, however, are included in the list of 12 Triple Crown champions. Their names, with sire and dam, are below.
12 in 91 years
- 1932 Queensway (filly, Old Koenig / Chrysoberil
- 1939 Archworth (Worthmore / Archipelago)
- 1945 Uttermost (Soleil Du Midi / Uppermost)
- 1955 Ace Marine (Ace Admiral / Mazarine)
- 1956 Canadian Champ (Windfields / Bolesteo)
- 1959 New Providence (Bull Page / Fair Colleen)
- 1963 Canebora (Canadian Champ / Menebora)
- 1989 With Approval (Caro / Passing Mood)
- 1990 Izvestia (Icecapade / Shy Spirit)
- 1991 Dance Smartly (filly, Danzig / Classy ‘N Smart)
- 1993 Peteski (Affirmed / Vive)
- 2003 Wando (Langfuhr / Kathie’s Colleen)
Northern Dancer’s great-greats
In 1964, Northern Dancer won the Queen’s Plate in July. That was a month after his run for the American Triple Crown. He won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but alas, not the Belmont. Due to lameness he developed later that month, that was his last race. And the start of his stud career.
His great-great-granddaughter Wonder Gadot won the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown in 2018. She did not run in the Breeders’ Stakes, instead competing in New York’s Travers Stakes a week later.
This year, it’s another Northern Dancer descendant with a Triple Crown chance. Mighty Heart is his great-great-great-grandson through both his dam, Emma’s Bullseye, and his sire, Dramedy.
Mighty Heart has a lot of heart. He’ll need it. He’s only one of two in the expected field of 12 to compete in all three races. And Mighty Heart has only one eye. He lost his left eye when he was just two weeks old. A blinker with a protective covering keeps debris from flying into his eye socket.
His main competition is expected to come from his stablemate Belichick. They’ll be side by side in the starting gate. Both are trained by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer Josie Carroll. Good luck to all, and safe ride!
Later – Spoiler Alert:
Belichick ran the winning race. So Josie Carroll was the three race winning trainer, but she did so with her other horse. Congratulations to all, and thanks, Mighty Heart, for some exciting rides.