08/02/2008 12:00AM

No dominant force in Breeders'


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The 118th running of the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at Woodbine on Sunday, is a contentious event that lacks star power. This year's Queen's Plate winner, Not Bourbon, and the Prince of Wales Stakes winner, Harlem Rocker, have skipped the race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, and a newcomer to the Triple Crown scene, Sligovitz, will likely be favored in the 1 1/2-mile grass race.

Sligovitz, trained by Brian Lynch for Stronach Stable, struggled during the winter at Gulfstream, but is coming off back-to back victories on Polytrack, most recently in a 1 1/4-mile allowance.

Sligovitz was a fast-closing fourth in his only grass try, which came over a mile in his debut at 2.

"I've always thought that he's better on the turf," said Lynch. "I kept him on the dirt to see if he would pan out for the Queen's Plate. The way he ran the other day, it certainly doesn't look like he's going to have trouble getting the distance. He won his last couple coming up inside of horses. He's an easy horse to ride, especially going a mile and a half, because he'll switch off for you. He rates lovely, and it seems that whenever you need to cue him, he's there for you."

Solitaire, a talented maiden based at Saratoga, has performed well in each of his three starts. Trained by James Bond, he was a wide-closing third in the Plate, during which he ran 44 feet farther than Not Bourbon.

"I started him on the grass down at Gulfstream," Bond said. "There was no pace at all in the race. They went a dawdling half in 50, and he closed into that. He's got a pedigree which [suggests] that he'll run all day. He hasn't shown me that a mile and a half is going to slow him up too much. He's been training super."

Marlang wound up third last time out in the nine-furlong Toronto Cup Stakes after taking the Charlie Barley Stakes on the grass.

Trainer Debbie England felt that Marlang didn't enjoy the giving ground in the Toronto Cup, which was contested over a course labeled good. She acknowledged that the large colt could be the pacemaker on Sunday.

"They're probably not going to go that fast," said England. "He'll be up there close. He's a bit of a hot horse. You have to keep him settled down."

Trainer Mike DePaulo entered Pronger and Deputiformer.

Pronger, the third-place finisher in the Wales, is unplaced in two turf attempts.

Deputiformer captured the Cup and Saucer Stakes in October, and hasn't competed on the grass since then. He finished fourth in the Plate and fifth in the Wales.

Cryptonite Kid, the Cup and Saucer runner-up, is exiting a wide fourth-place finish in the one-mile Charlie Barley.

East End Tap is trying the grass for the first time, after ending up second in the Wales.

The consistent Palmers was beaten a neck in his lone grass start at the Fair Grounds.