The $1 million Queen’s Plate is for three-year-olds foaled in Canada and will take place on Sunday. It is contested over the dirt surface at Woodbine going the distance of 10 furlongs. A race ripe with history, it was first contested in 1860. Notable winners include the filly Dance Smartly, legendary sire Northern Dancer and the world recorder holder With Approval. This year a full field of 17 has gathered and it appears to be a very competitive race. Let’s take a look at each horse in the 2011 Queen’s Plate along with some betting strategies.
Todd Pletcher sends out the maiden Imhotep. The son of Giant’s Causeway will break from the rail. He was last seen finishing sixth beaten a whopping 11 1/4 lengths in the Plate Trial. Pletcher is a mastermind, but even for him this would be quite a stunning upset. Emile Ramsammy will ride for owner Zayat Stables.
Garrett Gomez will make the trip north of the border to ride Curgone, a loser in a non-winner of two lifetime races event last out. He showed good form to be second in the Frost King at two, but based off what we have seen in 2011 it would be nothing short of a miracle for him to win. Not only is talent lacking, but his ability to go 1 1/4 miles is questionable. Gregory de Gannes trains for owner J M Stritzl Stables.
The aptly named Oh Canada will be ridden by Emma Jayne Wilson for trainer Robert Tiller and owner Frank D Di Giulio Jr. The gelded son of Proud Citizen put together a decent rally to be third in the Marine last out. That was his first trip around two turns. There is reason to believe he could make the trifecta, but a win would be a surprise.
One Big Gator only just broke his maiden in his sixth start and would be a shock for jockey James Mcaleney and trainer John Ross. Jam Jar Stables owns the son of One Way Love whom will be racing from off the pace.
Pender Harbour deserves more of a look than he will likely receive. The son of the Kris S. sire Philanthropist was a stakes winner at two and clearly wants to go this far. This race will be his third off the shelf and in his previous two tries he was compromised by circumstance. The first race was going six furlongs and this horse is not a sprinter. In the second he had very little pace to chase, but still finished fourth beaten two lengths in open stakes company. The only thing I don’t like is that trainer Mike DePaulo opted to work him between that race and this one. He will be entering the Queen’s Plate on two weeks rest and he was clearly fit with a one mile work and sharp five furlong breeze before his last race. Regardless, at a price he is worth using. Chantal Sutherland rides for owners Andrew Lazaruk and R R Griffin.
Head Hancho won a non-winners of two lifetime races last out, but doesn’t appear classy enough for top trainer Catherine Day-Phillips. He races for Annecchini & DAlimonte Holdings Inc. I like how he closed in a paceless race last out even after going 7 wide and breaking poorly. He’s got a puncher’s chance.
Strike Oil races for top owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse. Willie Martinez will get the mount on the colt who was last seen finishing third in the Plate Trial. I’m afraid as a son of Forest Wildcat the distance will get the best of him.
John Mattine trains Okiyama a son of Old Forester owned by T Romanelli, W Paterson and R Okihiro. He looks to have a little early speed and that will work to his advantage. It would be a surprise to see him hit the board though.
Inglorious, the filly in the race, looks better than the fast majority of these colts. The daughter of Hennessy has what it takes to go the distance and is a perfect 4 for 4 at Woodbine including a win in the Woodbine Oaks last out. She is trained by Josie Carrol and Donver Stables owns her. Her works are killer and I count her as my top pick to win the Queen’s Plate.
West Point Thoroughbreds brings Enduring Star who is working solidly after breaking his maiden last out. Robby Albarado will ride for trainer Mark Casse. He appears to be a colt on the way up and will be a live long shot.
Ojibway Signal races for owners D Bell and G Vhalos. David Bell trains and Justin Stein will ride. It appears he is behind the barrel and will need some help to win here.
Seawatch races for the same connections as Inglorious and will be ridden by Simon Callaghan. He ran in a very slow race last out and failed to close, but he came from way back to win by 4 in his maiden breaker two back. If things get hot up front he will be charging late.
Roger Attfield trains the favorite, Check Your Soul. He is owned by Charles Fipke and will be ridden by Patrick Husbands. His last out win in the Plate Trial was impressive and he has won each of his last two races despite poor beginnings. It’s hard to knock him, but in a race with 17 horses I’d like to try and find a price.
Todd Pletcher’s main hope is Queen’splatekitten (love the name), owned by Mill House and ridden by John Velazquez. His last race was a win in the Marine and before that he was off the board in the Bluegrass Stakes. With top connections campaigning him he will likely be an unacceptable price. Like his chances, but can’t bet him.
Hippolytus adds blinkers after closing to be fourth in the Plate Trial last out. The son of Philanthropist is another Mark Casse entry and he will wear the silks of Horsen Around Racing Stable. This race will be his third off the shelf which means he’s ready for a peak performance. Tyler Pizzaro will be in the irons. Looks tough at a big price.
Bowman’s Causeway was my top pick in the Plate Trial and I stood to make a lot of money if he won, but alas he ended up second. The son of Giant’s Causeway is trained by Chad Brown and owned by Martin Schwartz. Eurico Da Silva gets the call to ride again. He should be sitting in the perfect spot and has the pedigree to go 10 furlongs. I like him almost as much as last time, but he won’t be my top pick.
Maple Leaf Kitten is owned by the king of claimers, Donna, Billy and Justin Hays. The son of Kitten’s Joy broke his maiden last out at Indiana on the grass for trainer Mike Maker. Omar Moreno gets the mount. He could be any kind, but I’ll look elsewhere.
In summation my top pick to win the Queen’s Plate is the filly, Inglorious. I love the way she is training and I’ve always thought very highly of the lass. Shots I like for the exotics are Oh Canada, Pender Harbour and Hippolytus. The favorite and Bowman’s Causeway are also deserving of consideration.
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