The 161st edition of the Queen’s Plate was run at Woodbine Racetrack yesterday, headlining a stakes-filled card of racing. While the public was not permitted to attend this year, owners and connections were allowed to be present with safety guidelines in-place including mandatory temperature check, face coverings and social distancing measures.
Even without fans in attendance, betting totaled $14.5 million, a very impressive number helped by American fans hungry for the sport amidst this Pandemic. They continue to turn to Woodbine‘s quality product for entertainment.
The marquee race saw top Canadian-bred three-year-old horses facing-off at a distance of 1 1/4 miles for a purse of $1 million, drawing a field of 14 competitors. Winning the race was one-eyed colt MIGHTY HEART under Jockey Daisuke Fukumoto for Trainer Josie Caroll and Owner and Breeder Larry Cordes. While the grandstand has largely been quiet of late with restricted visitor access, cheers were loud for the son of Dramedy, who overcame his physical limitation to run the second-fastest edition of the Queen’s Plate ever at 2:01.98 leading all the way. No cheers were louder though than those of his handlers Siobhan Brown and Renee Dockstader who were overjoyed at the win. It has been a phenomenal year for 23-year-old Japanese import Fukumoto who just earlier this year won his first stake race on another Carroll trainee, Court Return after arriving at Woodbine in 2016. Carroll last won the Queen’s Plate in 2011 with filly Inglorious.
While he still has yet to win a race, NK Racing and LNJ Foxwoods’ BELICHICK ran a stellar second at 26-1 odds under Slade Callaghan, giving Carroll a 1-2 finish in the prestigious race.
CLAYTON, who was the morning line favourite for the race, ran third under Rafael Hernandez and Trainer Kevin Attard. He went off as the second choice at 3-1 odds.
The $250k Bison City Stakes for three-year-old Canadian-bred fillies born in Canada, known also as the second leg of Canada’s Triple Tiara, was taken by American-based MIZZEN BEAU under Jockey Steven Bahen. The daughter of Mizzen Mast is owned by Daniel Investment Holdings and trained by Norm Casse and has been spending much time at Woodbine the past bit gearing-up for this Summer campaign with the help of his father Mark Casse‘s Toronto team. She prior had finished fourth in August’s Woodbine Oaks.
Sam-Son Farm‘s RIDEFORTHECAUSE sprung an upset at 22-1 odds in the $250k Canadian Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. David Moran piloted the win which saw her make a big sweeping move at the top of the stretch after exhibiting some nerves in the pre-race. The Gail Cox Trainee is a daughter of Candy Ride and came off another win early August at Woodbine.
Talented Chad Brown Trainee CAMBIER PARC shipped-up for the race and ran a credible second in the Canadian Stakes.
The Ruling Angel Stakes, named in honour of another great Sam-Son Farm filly, was taken by ARTIE’S PRINCESS whom while based in the U.S. under the care of Trainer Wesley Ward, has capitalized off her Canadian breeding running in restricted races, finding success at Woodbine. Finally, she notched her first stakes score in the race under Justin Stein.
Justin Stein also took the King Corrie Stakes earlier on the card aboard Cathal Lynch-owned and trained FRANCATELLI, continuing his red-hot riding streak of late, taking three races on the card.
Leo Salles also took three wins on the card earlier in the day.
While largely quiet this year, some sights from the day including a visit from Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdswell and a visit from retired top Jockey, Eurico Rosa Da Silva.
Special thanks to David Dunkley, official Millner of the Queen’s Plate for sending me this elegant mask he designed!
Another stakes-filled weekend of racing takes place next weekend at Woodbine with the Grade I $1 million Woodbine Mile, plus also the Grade I Natalma and Summer Stakes!
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
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