Tuesday, October 09, 2012


TORONTO, October 8 - Prince Will I Am, a multiple graded stakes winner on the turf, is hoping to be crowned victorious in Sunday’s Grade 1, $1.5-million Pattison Canadian International.

A five-time winner through 17 career starts, Prince Will I Am proved he was no pauper when taking the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont on October, 9, 2010, from out of the clouds.

The victory, his first stakes score, propelled the five-year-old Victory Gallop chestnut to a string of good results including a second-place effort in the Grade 3 Breeders’ Cup Marathon that November and wins in the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight at Calder and Grade 2 Mac Diarmida (ahead of Woodbine regulars Rahy’s Attorney and Musketier) at Gulfstream in early 2011.

“Between the Mac Diarmida and the Jamaica he showed his predisposition for being a good turf horse,” said trainer Michelle Nihei. “Both days were different in the way he brought himself into the race. In the Jamaica, it was his standard, way back, coming from out of it at the end, closing in :10 and change. In the Mac Diarmida, he put himself in the race a little bit better sitting fourth or fifth and took a bit of a run at them at the top of the lane. It's a little bit shorter stretch (at Gulfstream, compared to Belmont), so he had to get to that point a little bit earlier in the race.”

Prince Will I Am’s versatility is a huge asset for the well-travelled horse when experimenting on new track configurations. His Woodbine start will mark the seventh new track for the horse.

“He's a very savvy, smart horse,” said Nihei. “He really gets it. He understands what the game is and where the wire is.”

Prince Will I Am, who has been steered to victory by Freddie Lenclud, Javier Castellano, Jose Lezcano and John Velazquez, will have a new partner on Sunday, Woodbine-based Luis Contreras.

“Luis has ridden horses for me (in the morning) at Gulfstream in the winter time so we have a communicative relationship,” said Nihei. “I like Luis a lot. He's a professional and talented rider. And, obviously, this horse isn't selective about who he gets along with. You can put almost anybody on him.”

If Prince Will I Am, owned by Casa Farms I, returns to form on Sunday, Nihei will have to choose between a pair of Breeders’ Cup races, the Turf or the Marathon.

“The turf is his specialty and we'd hope to be in the mile and a half turf race,” offered Nihei. “But, he's also a brilliant marathoner and given the right circumstances he could jump up and be horse for the course. We're taking it one race at a time and right now our main goal is taking him to Woodbine and running well there.”

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