Queen’s Plate contenders stepping forward

May 1, 2018

TORONTO, May 1, 2018 – The 159th running of the $1-million Queen’s Plate is quickly approaching and is now just nine weeks away. The 109 Canadian-bred 3-year-olds currently nominated to the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown are continuing their preparations, and some are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Here’s an update on the latest Top 10 Queen’s Plate contenders and when we might see them next.

#1 FLAMEAWAY

Owner: John Oxley
Breeder: Phoenix Rising Farms
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey in most recent start: Jose Lezcano

Flameaway is a horse that won’t quit in the stretch, and has shown his determination in each of his four starts as a 3-year-old. In his most recent start in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 7, Flameaway wouldn’t let 2-year-old Eclipse Award champion, Good Magic, get away with an easy victory, battling to the line to finish in the runner-up position. He’ll be looking to grind out another strong performance in Saturday’s Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Next Start: Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, May 5, Churchill Downs

Flameaway winning at Gulfstream Park. (Photo courtesy Gulfstream Park)

#2 TELEKINESIS

Owner: Stonestreet Stables LLC
Breeder: William Graham
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey in most recent start: Javier Castellano

Queen’s Plate Winterbook favourite Telekinesis has run strong speed figures in each of his three races to date, and nearly recorded his first career graded stakes victory in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 14, when he was nailed at the wire by Kentucky Derby contender My Boy Jack. His strong dirt form should carry over to Woodbine’s Tapeta when he makes his next start in the $125,000 Plate Trial Stakes on June 9.

Next Start: Plate Trial Stakes, June 9, Woodbine

Telekinesis winning on February 9 at Fair Grounds. (Hodges Photography)

#3 WONDER GADOT

Owner: Gary Barber
Breeder: Anderson Farms Ontario Inc.
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey in most recent start: David Cabrera

Trainer Mark Casse has always said Wonder Gadot would be at her best the further she ran, and she’ll get another shot at 1 1/8-miles in Friday’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. In her last trip at 1 1/8-miles, Wonder Gadot was a 3 3/4-length winner in the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct, her most recent victory. Wonder Gadot has been close in each of her four starts as a 3-year-old, and a break through performance could be on deck.

Next Start: Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, May 4, Churchill Downs

Wonder Gadot winning the Mazarine Stakes (Grade 3) on October 7 at Woodbine. (Michael Burns Photography)

#4 NEEPAWA

Owner: Chiefswood Stable
Breeder: Chiefswood Stable
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey in most recent start: Tyler Gaffalione

Despite not recording a win as a 2-year-old, Neepawa ran well as a 3-year-old this winter on the turf at Gulfstream Park, recording a win and a pair of good efforts in stakes events. With a strong foundation in place, the Coronation Futurity runner-up will get some class relief when he makes his next start in an allowance race back at Woodbine.

Next Start: Allowance race, Date TBD, Woodbine

Neepawa winning at Gulfstream Park. (Photo courtesy Gulfstream Park)

#5 SILENT STING

Owner: Stronach Stables
Breeder: Phoenix Rising Farms
Trainer: Sid Attard
Jockey in most recent start: Luis Contreras

Silent Sting could be Stronach Stables best hope for a repeat in the Queen’s Plate in 2018 after winning the race with Holy Helena last season. After a runner-up finish in his stakes debut in last year’s Frost King Stakes, Silent Sting capped his juvenile campaign with a win in the Kingarvie Stakes around two turns. With some winter conditioning in Florida under his belt, Silent Sting picked up right where he left off in his 3-year-old debut with a win in the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes.

Next Start: Plate Trial Stakes, June 9, Woodbine

Silent Sting and jockey Luis Contreras winning the $125,000 Queenston Stakes on Sunday, April 22 at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photography)

#6 ROSE’S VISION

Owner: Chiefswood Stable
Breeder: Chiefswood Stable
Trainer: Stuart Simon
Jockey in most recent start: Jose Lezcano

After a 2-year-old campaign that saw Rose’s Vision record a pair of runner-up finishes and a third-place finish in four starts, he appears to have figured things out as a 3-year-old, and has won back-to-back starts on the turf. After breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park on February 24, Rose’s Vision doubled up in an allowance race at Keeneland on April 12. He’ll have a chance to make it three in a row when he makes his graded stakes debut in the Grade 3 Marine Stakes at Woodbine on May 13.

Next Start: Grade 3 Marine Stakes, May 13, Woodbine

Rose's Vision graduated at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 24 (Gulfstream Park Photo)
Rose’s Vision graduated at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 24 (Gulfstream Park Photo)

#7 AHEADBYACENTURY

Owner: Jack of Hearts Racing and J.R. Racing
Breeder: Hill ’n’ Dale Farms
Trainer: John Ross
Jockey in most recent start: Rafael Hernandez

The Coronation Futurity winner wintered in Florida and made a strong return to the races in the Queenston Stakes at Woodbine on April 22. He should improve with added distance. Trainer John Ross noted Aheadbyacentury has come out of the Queenston in good order, and could run back in the Grade 3 Marine Stakes at Woodbine on May 13.

Next Start: Grade 3 Marine Stakes, May 13, Woodbine

Aheadbyacentury winning the 2017 Coronation Futurity at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)

#8 ALTERNATIVE ROUTE

Owner: Spendthrift Farm LLC and Town and Country Racing LLC
Breeder: William Graham
Trainer: Al Stall Jr.
Jockey in most recent start: Mitchell Murrill

After making his career debut at Fair Grounds in December, Alternative Route has won two of his last three starts. In his most recent race, he recorded his first stakes victory, which came on a synthetic surface in the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park on March 17. He’ll likely make his way to Woodbine next, as he’s nominated for the Grade 3 Marine Stakes on May 13.

Next Start: Grade 3 Marine Stakes, May 13, Woodbine

#9 SAY THE WORD

Owner: Sam-Son Farm
Breeder: Sam-Son Farm
Trainer: Graham Motion
Jockey in most recent start: Jose Ortiz

Say the Word broke his maiden in his most recent start at Keeneland on April 27. The son of More Than Ready won going 1 3/16-miles on the grass, the furthest distance any Queen’s Plate nominee has won at to date. While five of his six starts have come on the grass, Say the Word has raced on Woodbine’s Tapeta before when fifth in a maiden race here last November, and he could be making his way back north very soon.

Next Start: Allowance race, Date & Location TBD

#10 BE VEWY VEWY QUIET

Owner: F. Di Giulio Jr., A. D’Onofrio and J. Peri
Breeder: F. Di Giulio Jr., A. D’Onofrio and J. Peri
Trainer: Robert Tiller
Jockey in most recent start: Rafael Hernandez

When Be Vewy Vewy Quiet won his debut by 11 1/4-lengths back in July, he was immediately labelled as a horse to watch. He won a pair of stakes events last season, while never missing the board in six starts as a 2-year-old. He finished a closing third behind Silent Sting in the Kingarvie Stakes in his first start around two turns last season, and will make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s Woodstock Stakes over six furlongs.

Next Start: Woodstock Stakes, May 5, Woodbine

Be Vewy Vewy Quiet (#9, inside) winning the Frost King Stakes on November 18 at Woodbine. (Michael Burns Photography)

There could be a number of other Queen’s Plate contenders that emerge in the coming weeks. Be on the look out for several other Queen’s Plate nominees, including Dixie Moon, Inge, Scrapper, Sent From Heaven, Pipers Warrior, Strike Me Down and Hemp Hemp Hurray.

Follow all of the action on the Road to the 159th Queen’s Plate at queensplate.com.

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