It is time to turn the page on one Triple Crown season and open up another.
The Canadian Triple Crown gets underway in two short weeks as the Queen’s Plate takes center stage in Toronto on Sunday July 3. Last weekend’s Plate Trial surely put Ami’s Gizmo into the favorite role with his win in the 1 1/8-mile main prep race for the Plate.
Before we get into some Plate notes, let’s do a quick recap of Belmont weekend…
- Been kicking myself for not coming back to my top 3 Derby pick Creator in the Belmont. To make matters worse I went with the wrong Pletcher as my top pick as Destin proved his mettle getting beat a nose in last weekend’s final jewel. The second race in 13 weeks scared me off Destin and led me to Stradivari who had a decent effort in the Preakness.
- Frosted’s 123 Beyer Speed Figure sure validated what most saw with their own eyes in a spectacular performance in the Met Mile. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin obviously gave him a nice lengthy break after the World Cup in Dubai and had him cranked on Saturday. It will be interesting to see him as he moves forward in 2016.
- One wonders what would have happened if Carina Mia had garnered enough points to run in the Kentucky Oaks. She looked very impressive in the Acorn. Songbird is back this weekend in a Santa Anita stake (Summertime Oaks) and we’ll see how well she’s recovered from her April setback.
- Keep the 3-year-old colt Economic Model in your virtual stable for this summer after his convincing win in the Easy Goer in the opener on Belmont day. We haven’t seen the last of the son of Flatter, who’s jockey later in the day won the Belmont.
- Steve Asmussen sure has enjoyed a nice spring, with his first Belmont win coupled with the announcement of his induction in the Hall of Fame in August. The Rob Ryan doppelganger will go into the Hall alongside one of the best all-time fillies Rachel Alexandra, who he trained to Preakness, Haskell and Woodward victories in 2009.
- The Triple Crown season while lacking the luster of the previous two years without a Crown at stake at Belmont still provided many big moments and will set up a big season of summer racing. The Haskell, Travers and Pennsylvania Derby should all play a big role in determining the 3-year-old champion.
- The Breeders’ Cup Classic could be just that with all of the talented horses still in training. Take your three Triple Crown winners, California Chrome, Beholder, Frosted and Effinex and you have a quality field shaping up. Fingers crossed that they all stay healthy.
The Queen’s Plate will be run on the brand new Tapeta surface at Woodbine for the first time in two weeks. Two American tracks, Presque Isle Downs and Golden Gate Fields also sport the Tapeta, a synthetic surface. The Polytrack was in place since 2005 before being replaced. Some thoughts as we head towards Canada’s famous race…
- I’ve fared much better at the Plate (5-3-0-2) than the Derby (6-1-0-3) with top selections since 2011, on a surface that I rarely handicap. Go figure.
- Fillies seem to fare well in the Plate with winners in 2011 (Inglorious) and 2014 (Lexie Lou) and a second in 2012 by Irish Mission. The Woodbine Oaks 1-2 finishers are both expected to enter the Plate.
- Roger Attfield will be looking for his record ninth Plate with the winterbook favorite Shakhimat, who finished second in the Plate Trial as the 4-5 favorite. I’m not feeling it after watching him on Derby day on the turf and watching last weekend’s effort.
- Ami’s Gizmo, the impressive Plate Trial winner, is a son of Giant Gizmo, who won the Alysheba and Lone Star Park Handicap at 1 1/8-miles. His damsire however has some decent stamina. Hansel won the Preakness and Belmont and finished second in the mile-and-a-quarter Travers.
- Josie Carroll could run 1-2 with Oaks runner-up Gamble’s Ghost and Ami’s Gizmo under her tutelage. The daughter of Ghostzapper lost a heartbreaker to long shot Neshama in the Oaks and should be a decent mid-priced filly on Plate Day.
- Narrow Escape is a half brother to Coltimus Prime, the 2015 Prince of Wales winner at Fort Erie for trainer Justin Nixon.
The DRF’s Top 10 Plate horses and estimated odds for the Queen’s Plate are as follows:
1 – Ami’s Gizmo (5-2)
2 – Leavem in Malibu (7-2)
3 – Shakhimat (5-1)
4 – Gamble’s Ghost (8-1)
5 – All on Red (10-1)
6 – Esposito (12-1)
7 - Scholar Athlete (15-1)
8 – Neshama (20-1)
9 – Sir Dudley Digges (25-1)
10 – Narrow Escape (25-1)
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.