TORONTO, May 4 – As we move ever closer to the 158th running of The Queen’s Plate, the top contenders for the 1 1/4-mile Canadian classic are beginning to emerge.
State of Honor will carry the flag for Canada in Saturday’s Grade 1 Kentucky Derby (Race 12, 6:46PM). The Conrad Farms homebred, trained by Mark Casse and to be piloted by Jose Lezcano, is expected to be among the pacesetters in the American classic. The strapping 17.1 hands tall bay graduated at Woodbine last fall and has trained impressively at Churchill Downs for the test of a lifetime.
On Friday’s Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs, the undefeated filly Stallion Heiress will look to improve her Woodbine Oaks and Queen’s Plate credentials with a victory in the Grade 3 Edgewood Statkes (Race 10, 5:04PM) over 1 1/16-miles of what could be soft turf if the weather continues to deteroriate in Louisville.
Sunday’s card at Woodbine features two races with serious Plate implications starting with Race 6 (3:48PM ET) where Signature Spring, Watch Me Strut, Guy Caballero and Conquest Lemonraid will battle over seven furlongs on the Woodbine main track.
In Sunday’s eighth and featured race, the $100,000 Wando Stakes (4:52PM), the Queen’s Plate Winterbook favourite Tiz a Slam will square off against Coronation Futurity champ King and His Court in a 1 1/16-mile Tapeta route that also features Plate nominated Megagray, Gamble’s Citizen and Escondera. To read the preview for the Wando Stakes, click here.
Saturday’s card at Woodbine will see a trio Plate nominated horses in action including Circle of Friends (Race 9, 5:33PM) as well as a 10th-race bout (6:15PM) that includes Spanish Express and Gordie Mac.
There were a number of key results for Queen’s Plate contenders in action this past week:
Inflexibility graduated impressively in Thursday’s 4th race at Belmont Park for trainer Chad Brown. The Chad Brown trained filly, listed at #4 on @TripleDeadHeat’s personal contender list, was bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms.
Enstone drew off to a 2 3/4-length score in Sunday’s featured Fury Stakes at Woodbine. The Tiznow filly, trained by Mark Casse for East West Stables, was 2 3/4-lengths clear of rallying Plate nominee Financial Recovery who was a neck in front of fellow contender Mythical Mission.
Courtly Manner capped Sunday’s card with a well-timed 12th to first rush under Rafael Hernandez for trainer Barb Minshall and owner-breeder Bruce Lunsford.
Fresh Princess graduated in front-running fashion on April 29 under a hand ride by Eurico Rosa da Silva for trainer and co-owner Tony M. Gattellaro.
On April 28, Malibu Secret topped a trifecta of Canadian Triple Crown nominated runners when 2 3/4-lengths clear of Arcen and Diamonds and Roses. The Sam-Son Farm homebred winner is trained by Malcolm Pierce.
On April 26 at Keeneland, the Canadian-bred duo of Channel Maker and Avie’s Mesa chased home Makarios in a nine furlong turf event.
Channel Maker was a good second at Keeneland…
A number of key contenders popped up on the work tab last week including:
Conquest Vivi breezed five furlongs in 1:01 flat on May 4 over the Woodbine main. Rank 13/33
Holy Helena breezed five furlongs in 1:02.12 on May 3 over the Belmont dirt. Rank 1/1
D’s Ben breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 on April 30 over the Woodbine dirt. Rank 15/24
Mill Road breezed four furlongs in :47.60 on April 29 over the Woodbine Tapeta. Rank 4/66
Ellan Vannin breezed two furlongs in :26 flat on April 28 on the Woodbine Tapeta. Rank 4/4
Aurora Way breezed four furlongs in :48.40 on April 28 over the Keeneland dirt. Rank 6/44
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.