I don’t believe it’s already time for the QUEEN’S PLATE! More than ever, Horse Racing is becoming vogue once again with major Canadian Outlets like eTalk, Breakfast Television and Flare several more featuring Canadian Racing’s biggest day! And although we still have a little bit of time left to coordinate our outfits – pink certainly will be the colour of choice with attentions turned to Rethink Breast Cancer – now’s the time to be thinking about who we’ll pick to win the $1-million race! This, believe it or not, is the 155th edition of the race for three-year-old horses bred in Canada – the most historic in all of North America.
Although we briefed you on the Contenders a little while back, the Post Position Draw for the Race has been held at Woodbine Racetrack and here are the official Contenders including 14 Boys and 1 remarkable Girl. Expect American-based/Canadian-born We Miss Artie to be a clear-cut favourite in the race.
#1 Cap in Hand– ran third in a prep race June 15th at Woodbine. His Owners Tucci Stables won the Queen’s Plate last year with Midnight Aria, who also happens to be by the same Father as Cap in Hand, Midnight Lute. This one has banked $47k. He’ll need a huge improvement to be a factor. Trainer Sid Attard will be up against his two sons, Jamie and Paul who each have entrants.
#2 Coltimus Prime – will be a hit among Transformers Fans and believe me, there are many of you out there! He certainly is regarded as one with potential and on his best day is capable of a big effort. He won his June 8th prep for this race at Woodbine, the same race which saw Athenian Guard unseat his rider. He has earned $114k in seven starts for Cabernet Stable and will be near the front of the pace in the race. He also happens to be the only Social Media-savvy entrant who has his own Twitter account: @COLTIMUSPRIME!
#3 Athenian Guard– appeared to be on his way to victory in a prep race on June 8th at Woodbine, but right into the stretch he booted his rider, Justin Stein. He has one win to his credit and $40k in the bank for A&L Racing Stables.
#4 Asserting Bear – has the benefit of a couple super-tough races in the U.S. earlier in his 2014 campaign and in March at Turfway Park, he was less than one length from beating the definitive Queen’s Plate favourite, We Miss Artie. He did technically win his prep for this race, the Marine Stakes, but was disqualified and placed third for interference. Model/Actress/Jockey Chantal Sutherland-Kruse will be aboard him for popular Bear Stables. The gutsy colt has earned $283k thus far in his ten races to date.
#5 Man o’ Bear – is a stablemate of Asserting Bear and although he hasn’t quite shown the same ability as that one, he certainly is no slacker. He ran third in Canada’s top race for two-year-olds last fall, the Coronation Futurity. More recently, he ran fifth to We Miss Artie in the Plate Trial and might’ve needed that one start to get going. Shoe-obsessed Trainer Reade Baker still stands by his belief that Man o’Bear is the stronger of the Duo.
#6 We Miss Artie– appears on paper to be heads and shoulders above the competition and is a deserving race favourite. The son of Artie Schiler, owned by Americans Ken & Sarah Ramsey won the Plate Trial effortlessly on June 15th at Woodbine, his first race ever on Canadian soil after a successful stint in the U.S. He placed tenth in the Kentucky Derby this May, which by no means is a disgrace, considering the caliber of competition he was facing. Top American rider Javier Castellano returns to Woodbine for the call. In ten starts, he has grossed over $691k in earnings. You certainly can bet on him, but don’t expect a big pay-off. He is listed at 8-5 odds, which is $5.20 back on a $2 investment.
#7 Majestic Sunset– has yet to win his first race, but he is great about bringing home paycheques for his owner, oil tycoon John C. Oxley. The handsome son of Artie Schiller, also the father of race favourite We Miss Artie, is known for having uniquely one blue and one brown eye. He ran second to We Miss Artie recently in the Plate Trial, by far his best performance yet. Could the earner of $111k be saving that big win for the big day?
#8 Lions Bay– appears to be doing everything right and it is just a matter of how good and ready he really is. In two 2014 starts, he has won both times with something left in the tank. This will be the toughest test for the $60k-earning colt owned by the Earle family. Young Trainer Jamie Attard also makes his first appearance in the Queen’s Plate.
#9 Heart to Heart – kicked-off his year in a big way at Keeneland this March winning dominantly, but returned home to Woodbine in the Marine Stakes finishing last. It is necessary to clarify however, that only one horse length separated the entire field in that competitive race and that being said, he could be in the thick of it for a piece of the prize. He has made $111k in seven starts for owner Terry Hamilton.
#10 Matador – also is owned by John C. Oxley and has shown flashes of brilliance on his best day, hence it is just a matter of whether or not he will be on-point Queen’s Plate Day. He won a prep race easily on May 28th at Woodbine against much easier but certainly will benefit from some tough races earlier in 2014 in the U.S. where he wasn’t much of a factor. I’ve said it once and will say it again – the earner of $260k is a better horse on the grass. Unfortunately though, the Queen’s Plate isn’t a grass race. American Jockey Julien Leparoux will be flying-in for the assignment and he is listed as the third choice at 8-1 odds, which is $18 back on a $2 bet.
#11 One Destiny – is an improving type, but will need to progress leaps and bounds in-time for the weekend. He ran third in his only start this season at Woodbine June 8th to Coltimus Prime. Owner/Trainer Alec Fehr and Winston Penny are the connections behind this $34k winner. He is expected to be close to the pace.
#12 Tower of Texas – has never missed a cheque for his owners Scott Dilworth and Thomas Van Meter II, banking $108k in eight starts. It’s taken a bit of time for the expensive purchase (he was bought for $200k) to figure things out, but he’s learning quickly and in the Plate Trial he tried rather hard, placing third ultimately to We Miss Artie. Hall of Fame Inductee Roger Attfield trains (he has won the race eight times!) and New York-based John Velazquez, who certainly knows Woodbine well, flies-in for the task.
#13 Niigon Express – certainly is talented. The only question is whether or not he is talented enough to win the Queen’s Plate. He has run two solid races at Woodbine this spring, placing first and then second most recently on June 15th topromising Freitag, who is by-passing the Queen’s Plate. Owner Chiefswood Stable won this race in 2004 with his father, Niigon who also drew number #13 the year he won. Young Trainer Paul Attard will be in the Queen’s Plate the first time.His Father Sid and Brother Jamie also have entries in the race.
#14 Lexie Lou– the only filly in the race will be facing boys for the first time. She is a model of consistency and more often than not runs with heart. She recently won the prestigious $500k Woodbine Oaks, regarded as the top race for three-year-old fillies in Canada. Film-producing giant Gary Barber (The Hobbit) purchased her for an undisclosed large sum earlier this year and he looks quickly to make a return on his investment. Note that she ran a full second faster than race favourite We Miss Artie on June 15th. She has earned over $600k in eleven starts and eventually will be racing on the grass surface. Expect her mid-pack in the race early. She is listed at 4-1 odds, making her the second choice which is a $10 payout on a $2 bet.
#15 Ami’s Holiday– almost won his prep race, the $125k Marine Stakes on May 25th at Woodbine, finishing third narrowly to Asserting Bear. The Stewards reviewed the race and found that he had been interfered with in the stretch and was awarded subsequently second place. He has won over $214k for Owner Ivan Dalos.
See Mr. Will‘s Snaps of the official 2014 QUEEN’S PLATE Contenders:
We did a quick survey on our Facebook Fan Page to see which Horse Wongsters think will win the #QP14 and although it was a close one, you guys chose….
Never discount LEXIE LOU though, as she was a close second!
If you’re coming down to the races for the first time this Sunday, July 6, 2014, dress to impress and come say “hi” as we’ll be at the Hats & Horseshoes Party by the Walking Ring starting at 12:00 PM! It is going to be an amazing afternoon full of races starting at 1:00 PM and your first bet is on Woodbine! See a Betting Ambassador for details. See you there!
If you can’t make it out to #QP14, tune-in from home on TSN in HD between 4:30 – 6:00 PMEST.