TORONTO, May 12 – Saturday’s seven furlong Queenston Stakes at Woodbine will feature seven Queen’s Plate nominated horses in a field of eight.
As we move closer to the $1-million Plate, trainers are having to make decisions on whether or not to keep pointing towards the big event or look for an easier spot for their horses. On May 3, a second subscription payment of $1500 was required to stay eligible for the Plate and there are now just 45 contenders down from 91 when Tiz a Slam was named the Winterbook favourite on February 22.
Ironically, the only Queenston (Race 8, 4:52PM ET) contender that is not Queen’s plate eligible is the likely favourite Lokinforpursemonee who bested many of his rivals including Yorkton, Woodbridge, Sailing Home and Marten River last time out when winning the Woodstock Stakes. The other Plate eligible Queenston horses are Rock You, Jurojin and Colton’s Corner. Click the link to read the preview of Saturday’s Queenston Stakes.
Saturday’s Woodbine card includes two additional races featuring Plate hopefuls. In Race 7 (4:20PM ET), Avie’s Mesa will take on older company in a 1 1/16-mile allowance event. Luis Contreras will ride for trainer Josie Carroll.
In Race 10 (5:56PM ET), Cool Catomine, who was supplemented to the Plate by trainer John Ross, will sprint seven furlongs on the Tapeta in a race that includes Plate nominated Silent Jimmie.
On Sunday at Woodbine, Ross will debut Queen’s Plate eligible Yoda Man in a maiden optional claiming route (Race 4, 2:42 PM ET) with Luis Contreras aboard.
On Friday at Belmont Park, filly Holy Helena will look for her first career win in a 1 1/16-mile maiden allowance event. She will be piloted by Mike Luzzi for trainer James Jerkens.
Key results from potential Plate contenders last week included a sharp reversal of form from Mark Casse trainee King and His Court who slipped up the rail to capture the 1 1/16-mile Wando Stakes by a length over Winterbook favourite Tiz a Slam. Megagray landed third in the Wando off a significant layoff and is one to watch.
Circle of Friends, trained by Robert Tiller, has now won two of three career starts. On Saturday, the Midnight Lute fellow swooped to a convincing two-length score in a six furlong allowance sprint under leading rider Eurico Rosa da Silva.
Conquest Lemonraid won a pace duel with Yes Darlin and kept on going to take a seven furlong allowance sprint by 1 1/4-lengths under Patrick Husbands. Fellow Plate hopeful Guy Caballero finished a game second.
State of Honor led the field to the halfway point in the Kentucky Derby but simply couldn’t keep the momentum going in the gruelling 1 1/4-mile Grade 1 event won by Always Dreaming.
Stallion Heiress was undefeated heading into the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs last Friday but after leading to the half-mile mark she faded to finish tenth.
Channel Maker continues to train well at Saratoga…
A number of key contenders popped up on the work tab last week including:
Conquest Zipped Up breezed four furlongs in :48.80 on May 10 over the Woodbine Tapeta. Rank 7/19
Channel Maker breezed three furlongs in :36.32 on May 9 on the Saratoga dirt training track. Rank 1/16
Time to Travel breezed five furlongs in 1:01 flat on May 8 on the Fair Hill dirt. Rank 1/4
Glencairn breezed three furlongs in :36 flat on May 7 on the Woodbine Tapeta. Rank 5/34
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.