07/11/2004 11:00PM

Seven likely to face Niigon in Prince of Wales Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Niigon and A Bit O'Gold, the one-two finishers in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate here June 27, head a prospective field of eight for Sunday's $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie.

The 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales follows the Queen's Plate in the Canadian Triple Crown series, which concludes with the $500,000 Breeders' over 1 1/2 miles on turf here Aug. 8.

Niigon, owned by Chiefswood Stable and trained by Eric Coatrieux, would earn a $500,000 bonus if he were to sweep the series.

Post positions for the Prince of Wales will be drawn at Fort Erie on Wednesday afternoon.

A Bit O'Gold, who finished three-quarters of a length behind Niigon in the Queen's Plate, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 under regular rider Jono Jones over a fast main track here Saturday.

"He was nice and relaxed; he just did what he had to do," said Jones. "He's ready for Niigon."

Catherine Day Phillips trains A Bit O'Gold and is a member of The Two Bit Racing Stable, the syndicate that owns the gelding.

"He'll gallop early here Friday morning, then go down to Fort Erie," said Day Phillips. "He can school in the paddock Friday afternoon and gallop over the track Saturday."

Will He Crow came from well back to finish third, beaten 8 1/2 lengths, in the Queen's Plate. He prepped for the Prince of Wales with six furlongs in 1:13 under regular rider Steve Bahen on the fast training track here Sunday.

"He had a little more run in the first part than I thought he would have," said Tim Regan, who trains Will He Crow for his father, Larry Regan. "That might be good; it takes him so long to get going in his races."

Will He Crow will ship to Fort Erie on Wednesday.

"He's a pretty smart horse," Tim Regan said, explaining that Will He Crow tends to take a keen interest in his surroundings. "I want him to get his looking around over with. I don't want him looking around the day of the race."

One to Celebrate, who did not compete in the Queen's Plate, worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 under jockey Rui Pimentel on the main track Saturday.

"Everything was super," said Reade Baker, who trains One to Celebrate for Curraghmore Farm and Formal Racing Stable. "I thought he did it very handily."

One to Celebrate heads into the Prince of Wales off a 5 1/4-length victory over Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward here July 1. That race was his first around two turns.