07/25/2017 9:20PM

Cool Catomine draws away to upset Prince of Wales Stakes

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Michael Burns
Cool Catomine, with Luis Contreras up, wins the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths at Fort Erie.

Cool Catomine, a 14-1 supplement ridden by Luis Contreras, made quite a splash in his stakes debut at Fort Erie on Tuesday, winning the middle leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, for trainer John Ross.

As expected, Florida Derby runner-up State of Honor set honest fractions in the 1 3/16-mile dirt route. Cool Catomine tracked him on the first turn and was relegated to third on the backstretch as Tiz a Slam moved up to press the pace.

State of Honor opened up a clear lead on the far turn after Tiz a Slam faded abruptly, while Contreras angled Cool Catomine three wide. Contreras coaxed Cool Catomine into switching to his right lead at the eighth pole, and they drew off from a tiring State of Honor in the final sixteenth to prevail by 2 1/2 lengths, in a time of 1:55.63.

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Aurora Way, who surpassed State of Honor and Tiz a Slam late in the wagering to go off as the 9-5 favorite, rallied four wide to edge State of Honor for second in the seven-horse field of Canadian-breds. State of Honor took a bad step past the wire, according to jockey Patrick Husbands, and was vanned off after walking onto the van.

“I wanted to be close to the pace,” said Contreras, who won last year’s Prince of Wales on the favored Amis Gizmo. “Last time, I learned you have to ride this horse the whole way. He gives you everything he has, as long as you keep riding him. I had a dream trip all the way.”

It was the biggest career victory Ross, who owns Cool Catomine in partnership with Jack of Hearts Racing. The son of Spring At Last was exiting a maiden win on the Tapeta at Woodbine in his first race with blinkers.

“We had some delays early on in his 3-year-old season,” Ross said. “We had to add blinkers and find out some things about him. I have to commend Luis Contreras, because he said this horse could use blinkers. We [added them] and look how it’s worked out. We could see the horse coming forward in all his races. We’re just so overwhelmed today, and why wouldn’t we be?”  

Cool Catomine ($30.80) earned $300,000, which boosted his bankroll to $352,630.