If famed Woodbine race announcer Dan Loiselle were calling this year's race for the Grey Cup as it heads around the final turn, he'd be hanging out of his little booth screaming "There's a stampede at the head of the stretch!"
That there is. And heading for the line it's the closest race in many years.
Here's the morning line on the five contenders, one outsider and two pretenders for the 2011 Grade 1 Grey Cup Stakes.1. La Chanson des Alouettes, 4-12011 starts:
Robert Wetenhall ThoroughbredsSynopsis:
This Quebec-foaled beauty is a multiple Grade 1 stakes winner who has
fallen just slightly off the pace this year. Best jockey in the field
continues to set records. Having some troubles defending track position
due to large number of nagging injuries. Runs best on its home track.
U.S. trainer always seems to find a way to be there at the line.
Constantly in danger of having the stewards throw the inquiry flag for
rough riding.2. Blue Bombers' Revenge, 5-12011 starts:
People of Manitoba Stables
Synopsis: Not normally known as a fast starter, this blue and gold liveried colt blasted from the gate and led through the first turn. Came back to the field after suffering some bumps and bruises, but refuses to quit. Knows how to defend its track position. Jockey can be injury prone but looks as though he'll hang on through the stretch. Gaining home track advantage is key. Great support from local punters.3. Wally's World, 8-12011 starts:
David Braley Stables Synopsis:
Stumbled out of the gate and nearly unseated its rider. This is a B.C. bred stallion that has shown serious finishing speed in the past. Finding good position into the stretch has been a problem, but not this time. Found a new lease on life and caught the field from way back. Colt's a little fractious at times, and prone to damaging errors of judgment. One of two Braley mounts in the race.4. Man in the Black Hat, 8-12011 starts:
John Forzani Sporting Stables Synopsis:
Could be well in front coming into the stretch if the colt would stop kicking itself in the hind quarters. Jockey has an annoying habit of handing the whip to other jockeys for no reason. When this colt runs at its best, no other horse can touch him. Doesn't always do that. Defends track position well. Toughness could make a difference right at the wire. Occasionally asleep at the switch. Double Blues took a big bite out of butt as it was leaving the track scratched.5. Soul of the Inuit (10-1)2011 starts:
People of Edmonton Frozen ThoroughbredsSynopsis:
Into the first corner neck and neck with Blue Bombers' Revenge, but since has settled into the middle of the field to wait for developments. Inexperienced colt not expected to challenge in this year's race, but enthusiasm has made up for a lot. Used to being bullied out of position by other colts though this time has shown he can fight back. Smart, veteran jockey knows how to bring the mount home if it's in good track position into the final furlong.6. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Kat (15-1)2011 starts:
Fractious colt can't make up its mind if it wants to lead, follow or just get out of the way. This Hamilton-bred runner shows flashes of brilliance mixed with Sunday riding stable dreaminess. Far too willing to give up key track position to the other horses, and that's surprising given Mr. Kat is a big thoroughbred. Finishing close, but out of the money, is beginning to wear on the punters who support this runner. They don't know whether to hold their money or bet the Daily Double.7. Double Blues (SCRATCHED)2011 starts:
David Braley StablesSynopsis:
Southern Ontario bred was out of its league most of the way, and eventually scratched coming around far turn. Jockey change three furlongs in didn't help, but at least the rider isn't ignoring the horse any more. Trainer trying to run the stable and look after the colt at the same time may be causing distractions. Helped stable mate by biting Man in the Black Hat. Shows promise if this blue blood can learn to run nearer the front out of the gate in future. May see a shake up in the stable at the end of the fall meeting.8. Regina's Nag (99-1)2011 starts:
Ken Miller Owner:
Synopsis: This formerly handsome thoroughbred turned into a sway back gelding somewhere between jockey's up and the starting gate. Green and white silks hiding a horse of a sickly colour. Only entry in the field ridden by the owners. Change in trainer wasn't any help. Definitely claimer quality in the summer and fall meeting. Considering a name change to Dog's Breakfast. Last seen, horse, rider, trainer and owner were arguing about who's in charge.
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