The party of the Summer for us always has been the Queen’s Plate. Now in its 159th edition, the historic $1 million affair brings together Canada’s best with a distinction of being the most historic horse race in North America. Social circles collided at the bash, now a three-day Festival at Woodbine Racetrack, as Horse Racing reunited once again with fashion, cocktails and entertainment, highlighted by a headlining performance by Country star Brad Paisley on Festival Friday and Sam Roberts Band following the big race Saturday. Betting was an all-time high tallying-in at $14,625,756, surpassing a 2017 record, proving that the Queen’s Plate is here to stay.
The big race itself went to superfilly WONDER GADOT, who overcame the opposition with ease for her owner Gary Barber, former Chairman and CEO of MGM Entertainment. He last won the Queen’s Plate in 2014 with another brilliant filly, Lexie Lou. Ridden by U.S.-based John Velasquez and trained by reigning champion Mark Casse and his team led at Woodbine by David Adams and Kathryn Sullivan, she was crowned top two-year-old filly in the land this April before almost winning the prestigious Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in a dramatic finish. The daughter of Medaglio d’Oro named after Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, boosted her career earnings just shy of the $1.2 million-mark and she was bred by Toronto’s David Anderson of Anderson Farms. A box office smash just like her namesake! Superheroes all need their gear and it is said that the addition of blinkers helped the filly focus and she soared the skies.
The Tragically Hip fans would be delighted that John Ross co-owned trainee and hit namesake Aheadbyacentury, got up second for newcomer co-owners Jack of Hearts Racing, followed by second runner-up Cooler Mike and his owner/trainer Nick Nosowenko.
Wonder Gadot likely is to be seen next at Fort Erie Racetrack Tuesday, July 24, 2018 in the Prince of Wales Stakes, before heading possibly to Saratoga for the Alabama Stakes. Her win in the Queen’s Plate secures her a spot at Horse Racing’s championship days, the Breeders’ Cup, this fall at Churchill Downs with this now being considered a qualifying “win and you’re in” race.
2018 continues to be Barber‘s year. He recently was in the news reaching a $260 million settlement with his former employer and he won another stake on Festival Sunday, the $225k Bison City Stakes with 2016 CTHS Premier Yearling Sale topper SAFE TO SAY. The filly is co-owned by Windway Farms (Jeffrey and Annabelle Begg), giving French jockey Jerome Lermyte his first stake win locally. Casse, who trains the filly, kicked-off his string of stakes scores on Festival Saturday in the Charlie Barley Stakes with John Oxley/My Meadowview LLC-owned RIDE A COMET.
Other big winners this weekend at the Queen’s Plate Festival include Brad Cox trainee LONG ON VALUE who also earned a berth at the Breeders’ Cup with a win in the Highlander Stakes; the impressive Chad Brown mare SANTA MONICA (GB) powering through the heat in the Dance Smartly Stakes to deny her stablemate, Canadian-bred INFLEXIBILITY; DELTA PRINCE, a half-brother to the late and great Royal Delta won the King Edward for Frank Stronach; TIZ A SLAM, a former Queen’s Plate entrant, upset the Dominion Day Stakes; SILENT SONET roared in the Zadracarta Stakes; and FAIRY HILL, a $25k claim for Bruno Schickendanz by trainer Norm McKnight, sprinkled some magic and won the Lady Angela Stakes on Festival Friday.
See some Snaps:
Entertainment and Fashion also were front and center at the Queen’s Plate Festival. Bold type names attending included fix-it gurus Mike Holmes and Mike Holmes Jr., beauty queen and popular horse racing personality Acacia Courtney, Letterkenny stars Andrew Herr and Nathan Dales, County singer Natasha Zimbarro, The Umbrella Academy star Tom Hopper, media personalities Jennifer Valentyne, Sangita Patel and Rick Campanelli, plus members of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and more. Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell once again too graced us with her presence.
See more below:
And let’s not forget the fashion! Bri Mott and Fashion at the Races once again were at the Queen’s Plate engaging attendees to show-off their #QP18 style!
Princess (@APicbymrwill) and I in our matchy Festival Friday outfits:
More #QP18 sights and vibes:
We are thrilled to have featured the top two finishers in this year’s Queen’s Plate in our Webseries, MR. WILL’S PATH TO THE PLATE. We apologize the Series ended prematurely this season due to scheduling conflicts, but hope to bring you more in 2019.
Missed it this year? Follow @WoodbineTB on Twitter to stay up to date on all updates Woodbine and Queen’s Plate-related.
Want more? We’ve got a Facebook album full of #QP18. Click here to see!
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
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