EARLY LOOK AT THE JULY 3 QUEEN’S PLATE PROBABLE FIELD (14)
HORSE / TRAINER / OWNER / JOCKEY
All On Red / Sid Attard / JMJ Racing Stables LLC / Eurico Rosa da Silva
Amis Gizmo / Josie Carroll / Ivan Dalos / TBA
Crumlin Spirit / Mike Doyle / Dura Racing and M. J. Doyle Racing Stables Ltd. / TBA
Esposito / Tom Proctor / Chartwell Partners LLC / Alan Garcia
Gamble’s Ghost / Josie Carroll / Ivan Dalos / TBA
Hammers Vision / Brian Lynch / Terry Hamilton / Patrick Husbands
Leavem in Malibu / Mark Casse / Gary Barber & Conrad Farms / Gary Boulanger
Mike / John LeBlanc Jr./ Paradox Farm, Inc., Mardon Stable & Hugh Sutherland / David Moran
My Name Is Jim / Reade Baker / Mario Forgione / TBA
Narrow Escape / Justin Nixon / JMC’s Racing Stable, Warren Dehan & Justin J. Nixon / TBA
Rocket Plan / John LeBlanc Jr. / William Gierkink / Simon Husbands
Scholar Athlete / Graham Motion / West Point Thoroughbreds / Jose Ortiz
Shakhimat / Roger Attfield / Dan Gale and Richard Hogan / Emma-Jayne Wilson
Sir Dudley Digges / Mike Maker / Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey / Julien Leparoux
SHAKHIMAT LOOKING TO PROVIDE ATTFIELD A RECORD NINTH PLATE WIN
Shakhimat, coming off a second-place finish as the beaten favorite behind Amis Gizmo in the Plate Trial, had his major Plate workout on Tuesday, breezing six furlongs in 1:12.80.
“I worked him behind another horse, and he worked quite well,” said trainer Roger Attfield. ”He worked fast, but it was really easy on him.”
Attfield, who will be seeking a record ninth Queen’s Plate win, was far from discouraged with Shakhimat’s effort in the Plate Trial.
“He was noticeably tired after the race,” said the trainer. “I’d never seen him tired before.”
“But he got a good race out of it. He got beat by a better horse on the day and he didn’t lay down on me. Even when he was beaten, he was trying to come back. It was a nice piece of work.”
Attfield plans to bring back Shakhimat for an easy move on Tuesday.
“He seems to be coming along really well,” said Attfield. “If he continues on, he’s going to be as good as I can get him on Plate Day.
HAMMERS VISION EYEING DATE IN PLATE?
A Sunday work over the Toronto oval’s Tapeta will play a big factor in the decision on whether to run Hammers Vision in the Queen’s Plate or the turf Charlie Barley Stakes, both slated for July 3 at Woodbine.
Owned by Terry Hamilton and trained by Brian Lynch, who campaigned Shaman Ghost to Plate glory in 2015, Hammers Vision will get his first test on the Woodbine main track tomorrow.
If all goes well, the son of Court Vision, winner of the 2010 Woodbine Mile, could contest this year’s Gallop for the Guineas. The alternate plan is a spot in the starting gate for the one-mile Charlie Barley, run on the world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
In a pair of 2016 starts, Hammers Vision was second in a seven-furlong allowance grass race at Belmont on May 7 and most recently, finished fifth, albeit just one length out of top spot, in the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont on June 4.
“We think he’s doing really well,” said Hamilton. “His last two races – he’s been up against some pretty tough competition and he’s done well. He hasn’t raced on the Tapeta before, but hopefully, he will take to it.”
A lifetime winner of one race – along with one second and a third – from six starts, Hammers Vision has seen turf in five of those appearances. The bay colt has competed twice at Woodbine, finishing seventh and fourth, respectively, in last year’s Grade 2 Summer and Cup & Saucer Stakes.
“He’s got a wonderful temperament about him,” said Hamilton. “We had given him some time off after the Cup & Saucer last fall and he’s run well in the two races this year. He had a few growing pains that first year, but we’re happy with how he’s coming into this race. Being from Canada, I’d really love to say that I won the Queen’s Plate.”
Bred by Donver Stable, Hammers Vision will have two-time (2003, Wando and 2014, Lexie Lou) Plate winner Patrick Husbands in the irons.
LEBLANC SET TO SADDLE TWO RUNNERS IN FIRST PLATE ATTEMPT
Trainer John LeBlanc has never had an entrant in the Queen’s Plate.
But it now appears as he might have not just one but two starters after Rocket Plan and Mike passed their final tests here Saturday morning.
"I was very happy with both of them, and the riders were happy," said LeBlanc. "I wanted them to breeze evenly, and gallop out strong.
Rocket Plan, with Simon Husbands aboard, broke off about two lengths behind Mike and closed on the inside through the stretch while falling just short of his stablemate at the wire.
Mike, with Davy Moran doing the honors, was clocked in 1:01.20 while Rocket Plan was caught in :59.80.
Rocket Plan has a restricted maiden victory to show from six starts for his owner/breeder Bill Gierkink. He will have to be supplemented to the Queen’s Plate at a cost of $25,000.
Mike, a full brother to the redoubtable Pender Harbour, was the sales topper at the local 2014 September yearling sale.