07/19/2001 11:00PM

The Wales on the dirt: Short fields and favorites


Queen's Plate winners have been tough to defeat in the second jewel of Canada's Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales Stakes, in the last quarter of a century.

The Wales, a 65-year-old race and the gem of the Fort Erie meet, may have been more intriguing when it was a 1 1/2-mile grass race than it is now at 1 3/16 miles on dirt. The average field size since the race was moved to the dirt in 1988 is just over six horses.

Plate winners have won eight of the last 25 runnings of the Prince of Wales, and since the race was moved to the main track, six of 13 Plate winners have won it.

Dancethruthedawn will be favored to continue her dance through the Canadian Triple Crown just as her dam, Dance Smartly, did in 1991. Last year, Dancethruthedawn's full brother Scatter the Gold scored a Plate and Wales double before losing the third leg, the Breeders' Stakes.

The field is small again for this year's race, but one formidable foe is Brushing Bully, third in both the Plate Trial and Plate.

Brushing Bully, whose breeding suggests he might be a good miler on turf, is a son of multi-millionaire and one of this year's leading sires Broad Brush, from the French Stakes winner Assombrie, a daughter of Timeless Moment.

Assombrie won two races in her career, both on grass in France, including the Prix Herod. She was trained by Francois Boutin before she was sent to California and trainer Bobby Frankel.

Assombrie placed in two stakes in the United States in 1991, including the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita.

Assombrie was purchased as a maiden mare by Frank Stronach for $45,000 at the 1993 Keeneland January sale. She produced six foals for Stronach, including Princess Elizabeth Stakes winner Navajo Pearl.

Stronach sold Assombrie, in foal to Touch Gold, at his Adena Springs breeding stock sale in 2000 for $200,000 to Daniel Borislow.

Canadians at Keeneland

Eugene Melnyk was the leading Canadian buyer at last week's Keeneland July yearling sale, purchasing two fillies and a colt for a total of $2.6 million. Melnyk was one of several buyers enamored with offspring of the Ontario-bred sire Saint Ballado, a full brother to champion Glorious Song. He paid $825,000 for a filly by the sire and $500,000 for a Saint Ballado colt.

Eight offspring of Saint Ballado sold for over $9.8 million.

Melnyk's biggest purchase was the $1.25 million he paid for a bay filly by A.P. Indy from the Grade 1 winner Flat Fleet Feet.

The Toronto-born owner was also the underbidder at $3.6 million for a Seeking the Gold filly that topped the second session of the sale at $3.7 million.

Patrick Lawley-Wakelin signed the ticket on a Silver Hawk filly named Hawkathon, bought for $170,000 by Sam-Son Farms.

$67,000 raised for LongRun

Tom Keenan, who races under the stable name of O'Cainon Stable, successfully bid $35,000 for a 2002 no-guarantee season to Breeders' Cup Classic winner Awesome Again at a silent auction held in conjunction with the annual awards dinner of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario division) on July 7.

The proceeds of the silent auction, which totaled $67,000, were donated to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.

The Awesome Again season, donated by Andy Stronach, was one of numerous stallion seasons donated by local breeders.