The Queen’s Plate will be the next big thing in Canada after a terrific run by the city’s NBA team culminating in the first Toronto world championship since 1993.
Trying to capitalize off of the high of that win, the country will turn to Woodbine for the 160th running of the Queen’s Plate. The race run at 1 1/4-miles is restricted to Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.
The Plate is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, which will head to neighboring Fort Erie for the second leg on dirt on July 23 and the final leg is back at Woodbine on the turf on Aug. 16. The last Canadian Triple Crown winner was Wando in 2003 and there hasn’t been a horse that has captured the first two legs that ran in the third leg since then.
This year’s Triple Crown is spiced up by a $500,000 bonus for any horse that captures all three legs and could be a deterrent to horses like Wonder Gadot that skipped the final leg last year to run in the Travers at Saratoga where she finished last.
This year’s Plate field currently has 14 probables including the Woodbine Oaks winner Desert Ride, a filly trained by Neil Howard.
Fillies have had their way in the Queen’s Plate since 2011 when the filly Inglorious kicked off the decade with a big win. Lexie Lou gave trainer Mark Casse his first Plate win in the 2014 edition followed by Holy Helena (2017) and Wonder Gadot (2018). Throw in Irish Mission’s second-place finish in 2012 and you have three wins and a second for fillies in the last seven years.
The winterbook favorite Avie’s Flatter is a graded stakes winner, capturing the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland in April. He returned to try the turf on Kentucky Derby day at Churchill in the American Turf and finished sixth. He returns to the Tapeta for trainer Josie Carroll who will be seeking her third Plate training win.
Trainer Mark Casse will be looking for his sixth win in his last seven North American classic attempts with two horses, Skywire and Federal Law.
Skywire, a lightly raced son of Afleet Alex, tried the Derby trail running in a prep at Turfway Park on the Polytrack, but finished eighth. He returned to Woodbine to post a win in the Wando S. and a second in the Marine S. in his prep for the Plate.
Federal Law, finished a disappointing second in the Plate Trial S., the traditional prep for the Plate, as the prohibitive favorite. The upset winner in the Plate, Pay for Peace, trained by Rachel Halden is also a probable starter next Saturday. The gelded son of Scat Daddy has three, wins four seconds and a third place finish in 11 career starts.
A rare appearance from a Steve Asmussen-trained colt is expected when Tone Broke will make his Woodbine debut. He comes out of a solid second place finish in the Sir Barton S. on the Preakness undercard to King for a Day. The winner upset Maximum Security last weekend at Monmouth Park, so it seems Asmussen is sending up a live horse. Luis Contreras is scheduled to ride.
One trainer missing from the probables is Roger Attfield, he of eight Plate wins, currently tied with Harry Giddings, Jr. for the record.
The News will once again be on hand for the Plate draw next Wednesday and on site for the Plate in suburban Toronto next Saturday.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.
Probable field for the 160th running of the Queen's Plate
Horse / Trainer / Owner / Jockey [Updated Sunday, June 24, 2019]
Avie's Flatter / Josie Carroll / Ivan Dalos / Javier Castellano
Desert Ride (filly) / Neil Howard / Sam-Son Farm / Steven Bahen
Federal Law / Mark Casse / Qatar Racing Limited / Jamie Spencer
He's a Macho Man / Josie Carroll / Di Scola Boys Stable / Patrick Husbands
Jammin Still / Kevin Attard / Derek Chin / Alan Garcia
Krachenwagen / Angus Buntain / Greenoaks Farm / Jeffrey Alderson
Lucas n' Lori / Kevin Attard / Lori Cirillo and Kelly Waxman / Kazushi Kimura
Moon Swings / Michael De Paulo / Zilli Racing Stables / Jesse Campbell
One Bad Boy / Richard Baltas / Sayjay Racing LLC, Greg Hall and Brooke Hubbard / Flavien Prat
Pay for Peace / Rachel Halden / Team Penney Racing and Carem Stables / Rafael Hernandez
Rising Star / Michael De Paulo / Zilli Racing Stables / Justin Stein
Skywire / Mark Casse / Gary Barber and Lou Tucci / Eurico Rosa Da Silva
Suitedconnected / Robert Earl Barnett / Joe Triumbari / Gary Boulanger
Tone Broke / Steve Asmussen / L & N Racing LLC / Luis Contreras