TORONTO, March 17 – It’s a light weekend of racing action for our Queen’s Plate hopefuls with Woodbridge the lone representative as part of the historic Aiken Trials in South Carolina.
Trained by Mike Keogh for co-owner and breeder Gus Schickedanz, Woodbridge is from the same family as 1999 Queen’s Plate champ Woodcarver. The attractive bay kept good company in his juvenile campaign including a third-place run in the Vandal Stakes and a solid runner-up effort to Golden Hawk in a grassy maiden allowance.
Woodbridge graduated on October 2 when trying two turns for the first time with a three-wide rush before completing his campaign in the Coronation Futurity when sixth. On Saturday, Woodbridge will compete for the City of Aiken Trophy, travelling 4 ½-furlongs, in the seventh trial on the card. Kaitlan Montgomery will ride.
The Aiken Trials, a non-wagering event, originated in 1942 as a way to give young horses in training a racing experience. Keogh has long sent horses to the South Carolina training facility to prepare for the Woodbine meet and is currently overseeing some 21 horses in training.
A good result on Saturday for Woodbridge will help put the talented bay on the path to the Queen’s Plate with his first local start expected to be the Queenston Stakes on May 13.
A number of Queen’s Plate contenders put in good efforts last weekend across North America including Stallion Heiress and State of Honor.
State of Honor continued his excellent run of form with a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in Florida. Trained by Mark Casse for owner-breeder Conrad Farms, State of Honor set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile event but could not hold off the onrushing Tapwrit who pulled away to a 4 ½-length score.
Tiz a Slam, the Queen’s Plate Winterbook favourite, made his seasonal debut last Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs when fifth, defeated less than two lengths, in the Columbia Stakes.
Trained by Hall of Famer Roger Attfield, Tiz a Slam won three times as a two-year-old including a victory in the Cup and Saucer Stakes.
Tiz a Slam (Michael Burns Photography)
Queen’s Plate hopefuls Avie’s Mesa (3rd) and Yorkton (7th) squared off in a turf allowance at Gulfstream Park in Florida last Saturday won by a runaway favourite Mo Maverick.
A number of key contenders popped up on the work tab last week including:
Conquest Zipped Up breezed four furlongs in :49.39 on March 16 at Gulfstream Park. Silent Jimmie breezed three furlongs in :40.20 on March 16 on the Woodbine training track. Conquest Lemonraid breezed four furlongs in :48.20 on March 13 at Ocala Trainer Center. Off Road breezed five furlongs in 1:01 on March 13 at Fair Grounds. Inflexibility breezed four furlongs in :49.80 on March 11 over the Palm Meadows turf. Escondera breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 on March 11 over the Payson Park turf. Time to Travel breezed four furlongs in :50 flat on March 16 on the Payson Park dirt.
Horse / Trainer / Owner 1. Tiz a Slam / Roger Attfield / Chiefswood Stable 2. King and His Court / Mark Casse / Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable 2. State of Honor / Mark Casse / Conrad Farms 4. Channel Maker / Dan Vella / Joey Gee Thoroughbreds and Wachtel Stable 5. Inflexibility / Chad Brown / Klaravich Stables, Inc. William H. Lawrence
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.