Countdown to #QP16 – Sophomore stakes highlight Woodbine weekend

April 15, 2016

TORONTO, April 15 – A number of Canadian-bred three-year-olds will compete at Woodbine this weekend as they work towards their goal of earning a spot in the starting gate for the 157th running of The Queen’s Plate.
On Saturday, a field of six sophomore fillies will contest the $125,000 Star Shoot Stakes, a six furlong Tapeta sprint, which is a wide open affair featuring Chiefswood Stable homebred Holy Flame.

Holy Flame…
Sunday’s Woodbine feature, the $125,000 Woodstock Stakes, a six furlong sprint for three-year-olds, features the returns of Beliveau. The dark bay son of Where’s the Ring has a sprinter’s pedigree but must be respected having finished first in all three starts, although he was disqualified and placed second behind Woodstock rival Hollywood Hideaway in the Victoria. Patrick Husbands will ride Beliveau, listed at 25-1 in the Queen’s Plate Winterbook, on Sunday against a field of five American-bred foes.
Saturday’s opening race, a 6 ½-furlong maiden allowance sprint for three-year-olds features Leavem, a full brother to Danzig Moon, who finished second in the Gr. I Toyota Blue Grass. Woodbine racing analyst Jim Bannon selected the horse on top in his daily racing journal.
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A number of key Plate contenders produced eye-opening results over the past week led by Winterbook favourite Shakhimat who dazzled with a 3 ¼-length score in the grassy Grade III Transylvania Stakes, at Keeneland.
“I think the plan is to stay here for a while with the Queen’s Plate as the ultimate goal,” said Patrick Dixon, assistant to trainer Roger Attfield. “There are a lot of options out there and it is possible he could run at Churchill Downs.”
That would be the $300,000 American Turf (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on Kentucky Derby Day, May 7.
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Limitless, an impressive debut winner at Fair Grounds, tried rating off a fast pace in a seven furlong allowance sprint at Keeneland, but could not match the winning kick of Twirl Girl. Limitless stayed on to finish third, defeated just 1 1/4 lengths.
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The multiple stakes placed Ultraflame, owned and trained by John Ross, was an impressive winner of an allowance event at Woodbine on April 9. The bay colt, by Old Forester, rallied from off the pace for a ¾-length score in a five furlong sprint under a perfect ride by Jesse Campbell.

Ultraflame…
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A number of key Queen’s Plate Winterbook contenders popped up on the work tab this week including a talented quintet of horses that are nominated to the Wando Stakes slated for Sunday, April 24.
Aegis (75-1) breezed five furlongs at Fair Hill in 1:01.20 on April 15. Rank 3/15.
Battery (4-1) breezed four furlongs in :49.40 over the Keeneland dirt on April 15. Rank 19/32.
Amis Gizmo (7-2) breezed four furlongs in :48.60 over the Keeneland dirt on April 15. Rank 11/32.
Butterfly Dance (13-1) breezed four furlongs in :47.40 on the Woodbine Tapeta on April 15. Rank 1 /39.
Conquest Daddyo (9-2) breezed five furlongs in :59.80 on the Woodbine Tapeta on April 13. Rank 2 /21
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@TripleDeadHeat’s Top 5 Queen’s Plate Contenders list as of April 15.

Horse / Trainer / Owner
1. Shakhimat / Roger Attfield / Dan Gale
2. Amis Gizmo / Josie Carroll / Ivan Dalos
3. Battery / Todd Pletcher / Harrell Ventures LLC
4. Ami’s Mesa / Josie Carroll / Ivan Dalos
5. Limitless / Larry Jones / Bret Jones, Kent Spellman and Wes Welker

The 157th running of The Queen’s Plate, the 1 1/4-mile classic which carries a $1 million purse, is set for Sunday, July 3.

For more information on North America’s oldest continuously-run stakes event and first jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown of Racing, visit QueensPlate.Com.

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