07/17/2011 7:54PM

Fort Erie: Pender Harbour nips Bowman's Causeway in Prince of Wales

Michael Burns
Pender Harbour and Bowman's Causeway hit the wire almost simultaneously in the Prince of Wales, the second leg of Canada's Triple Crown.

FORT ERIE, Ontario -  Pender Harbour, with Luis Contreras in the saddle, survived a stirring stretch battle from between rivals and prevailed over a game Bowman’s Causeway and the early stretch leader Oh Canada, to win the $500,000 Prince of Wales on Sunday at Fort Erie.

Pender Harbour ($10.30), third in last month’s Queen’s Plate at Woodbine in the first leg of Canada’s Triple Crown,  finished a nose in front of Bowman’s Causeway and a half-length ahead of Oh Canada. Check Your Soul, the 3-2 favorite,  broke outwards, trailed,  and never threatened as the last-place finisher in a field of seven 3-year-old Canadian-breds,

 “I thought I had a good shot at winning going into the far turn,” said Contreras. “We caught Oh Canada in early stretch then we were full out to beat the outside closer. I knew it was going to close when I felt him coming, but thought we had hung on by a nose.”

Trainer Mike DePaulo, credited Contreras with a well-timed and perfect ride.

“We had some traffic problems in the Plate and wanted Pender Harbour outside and clear of trouble,” DePaulo said. “ Luis gave him a great ride and he was clear of trouble every step of the way. We were so happy to have him back in the saddle.”

Contreras had ridden Pender Harbour  to a fourth-place finish in the Victoria Park.

Roberta Giffin, speaking on behalf of all the owners, said that this was the biggest win of her life. “We thought we had won it, but some fans nearby believed Bowman’s Causeway had nipped us at the wire. Thankfully, we had it right,” said Giffin.

Pender Harbour is by Philanthropist out of the mare Uproar and was purchased for less than $16,000. De Paulo said the horse sold for what turned out to be a bargain price because he was part of the sire’s first crop.

“He was an unknown from a breeding shed viewpoint, and that fact allowed us to catch Pender Harbour at a decent price,” DePaulo said.

Pender Harbour completed the 1 3/16 mile Prince of Wales over a fast track in 1:55:74.

The Canadian Triple Crown concludes at Woodbine with the Aug. 7 Breeders’ Stakes over 1 1/2 miles of turf.