TORONTO, April 20 – The Woodbine meet opened last weekend to much fanfare and a boisterous crowd and the action won’t let up as we enter the second week of the meet with no fewer than 13 Queen’s Plate contenders entered locally.
A bevy of Plate nominees race on Friday at both Woodbine and Keeneland.
On the home front, Friday’s third race (2:05PM ET) is a six furlong Tapeta sprint featuring Maritimeconnection and Two Tribes. The eighth race (4:52PM ET) is a five furlong sprint on the Woodbine main boasting the quintet of Silent Jimmie, Discreet Dan, Courtly Manner, Circle of Friends and Rock You.
At Keeneland, multiple Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, currently tied for the record of most Queen’s Plate wins with eight, will send out Major Eclipse (Race 10, 6:03PM ET) in a 1 1/16-mile main track route. This difficult maiden allowance tilt also features the debut of Plate contender Intent to Strike who is trained by Graham Motion for owner-breeder Sam-Son Farm.
On Saturday, the featured Woodstock Stakes (Race 8 4:53PM ET) will see Plate nominees Sailing Home, Woodbridge, Yorkton and Marten River square off in a six furlong sprint. Woodbridge, trained by Mike Keogh, is the fifth ranked contender in the Queen’s Plate Winterbook, while Sailing Home, conditioned by Mark Casse, is listed eighth. Click the link to read the Woodstock Stakes preview.
Earlier on the Saturday Woodbine card, Hemmin and Hawin will travel seven furlongs in an optional claiming tilt (Race 5, 3:14PM ET) with Emma-Jayne Wilson up for trainer Ian Black. In 2007, Wilson and Black combined to win the Queen’s Plate with Mike Fox.
On Sunday, Colin Stakes winner Signature Spring will make his seasonal debut in a 5 1/2-furlong Tapeta Sprint (Race 9, 5:25PM ET) for trainer Sid Attard and owner Norseman Racing Stable.
There were six Queen’s Plate contenders in action last weekend and while none of them managed to land a victory, there was a lot of buzz around the third-place run by Fresh Princess who had to deal with a lot of traffic trouble in the Sunday opener.
Other contenders in action included:
Fleetway finished 3rd beaten by 3 lengths, on April 14, at Keeneland.
Holy Helena, made a smart debut and outran her 14-1 odds to finish 2nd beaten by 2 3/4 lengths, on April 15, at Aqueduct.
Off Road finished a well-beaten 11 on April 15 at Oaklawn Park.
Time to Travel pressed the pace in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes before fading to fourth, defeated 3 1/2 lengths, on April 15, at Keeneland.
Gordie Mac finished 3rd, defeated 2 3/4 lengths, in a main track sprint on April 16, 2017, at Woodbine.
Tiz a Slam continues to train at Keeneland…
A number of key contenders popped up on the work tab last week including:
Multiple stakes winner Conquest Vivi breezed four furlongs in :48.60 on April 20 on the Woodbine main. Rank 8/18
Graded stakes placed King and His Court worked five furlongs handily in 1:02.40 on April 20 on the Woodbine Tapeta. Rank 15/22
Stakes winner Ellan Vannin breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 on April 17 on the Woodbine Tapeta. Rank 5/23
Kentucky Derby contender State of Honor breezed four furlongs in :49.80 on April 16 on the Churchill Downs dirt. Rank 28/44.
Queen’s Plate Winterbook fave Tiz a Slam breezed five furlongs in 1:01 flat on April 16 over the Keeneland dirt. Rank 13/34
Updated Top 5 Queen’s Plate Contenders as selected by @TripleDeadHeat
Horse / Trainer / Owner
1. Tiz a Slam / Roger Attfield / Chiefswood Stable
2. State of Honor / Mark Casse / Conrad Farms
3. Channel Maker / Dan Vella / Joey Gee Thoroughbreds and Wachtel Stable
4. Inflexibility / Chad Brown / Klaravich Stables, Inc. William H. Lawrence
5. King and His Court / Mark Casse / Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable
The 158th running of The Queen’s Plate, the 1 1/4-mile classic which carries a $1 million purse, is set for Sunday, July 2. 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.