TORONTO - Dixie Strike is the horse to beat at the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes.
The filly and Prince of Wales champion was installed as the early 5-2 favourite for the final jewel of Canada's Triple Crown, which will be run Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack.
Dixie Strike will be among three fillies in the 14-horse field. But Queen's Plate winner Strait of Dover won't be running after suffering a season-ending leg injury preparing for the 1 1/2-mile turf race.
Dixie Strike will start from the No. 8 post with Patrick Husbands aboard in her third career race on turf.
Aldous Snow is the 4-1 second choice and will start from the No. 4 post with jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva. Filly Irish Mission, who was second in the Queen's Plate, is the 6-1 third choice and will start from the No. 3 spot with jockey Alex Solis.
The field for Sunday's race with post position, horse, jockey and odds include:
1. Dragon Tail, Richard Dos Ramos, 30-1; 2. Seen It All Before, Luis Contreras, 15-1; 3. Irish Mission, Solis, 6-1; 4. Aldous Snow, Rosa da Silva, 4-1; 5. Quaesitor, Emma-Jayne Wilson, 15-1; 6. Street Fight, Jermaine Bridgmohan, 30-1; 7. Ultimate Destiny, Steven Bahen, 8-1; 8. Dixie Strike, Husbands, 5-2; 9. Peyton, Todd Kabel, 30-1; 10. Wilcox, Justin Stein, 12-1; 11. Sammy Maudlin, Jesse Campbell, 8-1; 12. Big Kick, Kieren Fallon, 30-1; 13. Colleen's Sailor, Gerry Olguin, 12-1; 14. Lateegra, Slade Callaghan, 20-1.
Dixie Strike finished third in the Queen's Plate but she captured the Prince of Wales Stakes at the wire by a length at Fort Erie Racetrack last month.
Trainer Mark Casse was so impressed with Dixie Strike's first run on dirt that he sent her to Saratoga to train for the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama Stakes, to be held Aug. 18.
However, when news broke that Strait of Dover would miss the Breeders', Casse reconsidered.
"A big part of it was Strait of Dover," he said. "He's by English Channel and he would have been tough to beat.
"We brought her over to run her in the Alabama and it looked like the best she could possibly be in the Alabama is fourth choice. Running her in the Breeders', she very well could be the favourite. Mr. Oxley (owner John Oxley) and I talked about it and we just thought that it made more sense to run her in the Breeders'."
Casse believes running on grass will be somewhat easier on the filly that has already made a field-best seven starts in 2012.
"The difficulty with running at Saratoga is it's a very deep and tiring racetrack where I'm going to have to train her much harder," he said. "Going into the Breeders', she doesn't have to do a whole lot.
"She can run on the turf and turf isn't going to be as difficult. Our thoughts are that down the road she'll have other opportunities to run on the dirt."