The 160th edition of the Queen’s Plate took place at Woodbine Racetrack this Canada Day weekend! The two-day festival of horse racing, fashion, music, food and drink, culminated in North America’s most historic race on Festival Saturday. The race at ten one and a quarter miles, is restricted for three-year-old horses foaled in Canada and valued at a purse of $1 million. Taking the glory was none other than California-based ONE BAD BOY. The strapping dark brown son of Twirling Candy took it wire-to-wire by 3 and 1/2 lengths over Avie’s Flatter and then Tone Broke under Flavien Prat, defeating a field of 13 in 2:02.9 minutes before a packed grandstand. Prat won the Kentucky Derby this May via disqualification aboard Country House. One Bad Boy colt is owned by a partnership of Say Jay Racing, Brooke Hubbard and Greg Hall. He was bred by Ontario’s Ron Clarkson and was sold at the 2017 Keeneland September Sale. It has just been confirmed that he will contest the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales Stakes July 23, 2019 at Fort Erie.
One Bad Boy
Watch the race here:
The two-day Festival featured a star-studded lineup of racing with six other stakes races contested including the Lady Angela, Charlie Barley, Zadracarta, King Edward, Dance Smartly and Highlander Stakes.
Holy Helena – Dance Smartly Stakes, the 2017 Queen’s Plate victress shows she’s still got it! Her owner, icon Frank Stronach was in attendance.
Synchrony – King Edward Stakes, the American invader is owned by Josephine Abercrombie‘s Pin Oak Stable and she too graced us with an appearance.
Wet Your Whistle – Highlander Stakes, the off-the-pace sprinter went last-to-first for American-based trainer Michael Trombetta, who has found stakes success locally this season.
The Black Album (FR) – Charlie Barley Stakes, this French-bred colt ridden by Flavien Prat, is owned by Team Valor and Hollywood Mega-Producer Gary Barber, and regained the winning form he showed in France last year.
Desert Isle – Zadracarta Stakes, this Graham Motion-trained filly is owned by iconic Canadian outfit, Sam-Son Farms
Ciuri – Lady Angela Stakes, this Bob Tiller trainee owned by the same connections as Woodbine legend Pink Lloyd, was one of two stakes winners at Woodbine this weekend by red-hot sire Souper Speedy.
Also taking place at Woodbine this weekend was the unveiling of the new Inner Turf course. I recall Woodbine having had a Marshall Turf Course as a child, however this new, improved and re-branded course gives fans something new to cheer about and a new angle to wager on.
The Queen’s Plate is rooted in tradition and pageantry. Lovely seeing Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell with us once again, a vision of royalty.
We wished we had more of a chance to enjoy the Hats & Horseshoes Party and witness some of the Fashion, but our focus always has been the amazing racing on Queen’s Plate Festival weekend and we simply had to choose with six stake races on one card. We did spot these amazing looks including a Pretty Woman homage and David Dunkley owning the fascinator and hat game!
JUNO winners THE WASHBOARD UNION headlined the Queen’s Plate Festival, playing Festival Friday. The Trio treated fans to a surprise bringing on-stage fellow JUNO winner, BRETT KISSEL! Check-out a Clip of them performing their new single, “She Gets Me”below.
“She Gets Me”
And for your favourite part of our coverage of course, our world-famous Selfies!
One Bad Boy and his winning connections, including Co-Owners Brooke Hubbard and Greg Hall
The Washboard Union and Brett Kissel
Kaitlyn Leeb, star of upcoming Netflix Figure Staking series SPINNING OUT
Fort Erie‘s Ashley Mailloux joined us this weekend, contributing to HRRN‘s Queen’s Plate coverage
Beauty Queen and TVG personality Megan Devine also gave us a real treat with her visit. Amazing seeing America’s Best Racing‘s Dan Tordjman and Boston’s Woodbine fan extraordinaire, Sean Patrick Nolan back too!
With Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson on the lush new Inner Turf
This amazing sculpture had Instagram ‘lit’ Queen’s Plate Festival weekend!
Our #QP19 look: suit by Calvin Klein, ascot by Zara, sunnies by H&M and shoes by INC
Also, our dear friend Dawn Lupul, who has given fans amazing race analysis for eleven years now, says goodbye. We will miss her so much at the races and can’t wait for her next venture in holistic health and wellness. Send her your regards at @DawnLupul.
Congrats to our Reader, Cindy who won a pair of passes to the Festival this weekend. She had a blast, meeting The Washboard Union and also our adorable Mr Will!
We’re a week away from the party of the Summer, the Queen’s Plate Festival! North America’s most historic horse race, the 160th edition of the $1-million Queen’s Plate, caps-off a two-day Festival of Horse Racing, Fashion, Music, Drink and Food at gorgeous Woodbine Racetrack.
Canadian Country sensations THE WASHBOARD UNION headline the Festival’s Friday night, followed by HIGH VALLEY on the Saturday night, among other musical acts.
An awesome card of races is slated for the Festival including some world-class talent arriving for the Dance Smartly Stakes, the Highlander Stakes and King Edward Stakes.
Let’s meet some of the top Queen’s Plate contenders (Horse Name/Trainer/Owner/Jockey) in the big race, shall we?
Avie’s Flatter / Josie Carroll / Ivan Dalos / Javier Castellano
Desert Ride (filly) / Neil Howard / Sam-Son Farm / Steven Bahen
Federal Law / Mark Casse / Qatar Racing Limited / Jamie Spencer
He’s a Macho Man / Josie Carroll / Di Scola Boys Stable / Patrick Husbands
Lucas n’ Lori / Kevin Attard / Frank Cirillo / Kazushi Kimura
Moon Swings / Michael De Paulo / Zilli Racing Stables / Jesse Campbell
One Bad Boy / Richard Baltas / Sayjay Racing LLC / Flavien Prat
Pay for Peace / Rachel Halden / Team Penney Racing and Lisa Moser / Rafael Hernandez
Rising Star / Michael De Paulo / Zilli Racing Stables / Justin Stein
Skywire / Mark Casse / Gary Barber and Lou Tucci / Eurico Rosa Da Silva
Don’t forget to support the Queen’s Plate 50/50 Raffle to support Rethink Breast Cancer, where there’s a guaranteed prize of $2,500 CAN. Details at http://qp5050.ca.
Need inspiration for your perfect Queen’s Plate look? Check-out this awesome 2019 Queen’s Plate Style Guide by Zach Ramelan, featuring some of Canadian Racing’s most familiar personalities and Toronto influencers!
We’re thrilled to share one of our favourite joys with you and give Toronto Readers a chance to win a pair of passes to this amazing experience! These passes are good for both days of the Queens Plate Festival.
To enter to win, click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK! Tell us in the comments who your pick is to win the 2019 Queen’s Plate, the first leg of Canada’s Triple Crown.You also may enter on Twitter by Re-Tweeting this Tweet from @mrwillw or “liking” this Instagram Post from @mrwillwong and leaving a comment with your pick there also! Increase your chances and enter on all three platforms!!!
You are responsible for your own transportation.
The Queen’s Plate Festival takes place Friday, June 27 through Saturday, June 28, 2019 at Woodbine Racetrack. More on how to get tickets here.
Follow Woodbine Racetrack on Instagramhere and Twitterhere.
You’ll see me there, trust me!
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong/Woodbine Entertainment/Zach Ramelan)
Hot of the press! An official date has been confirmed for the 2019 QUEEN’S PLATE RACING FESTIVAL, culminating in the North America’s most historic horse race. The Festival is a celebration of tradition, fashion, music, food and drink and is sure to be a blast!
It runs Friday, June 28, 2019 through Saturday, June 29, 2019 and you can bet we’ll be there!
It was a hectic weekend with it being both Canada Day and the Queen’s Plate, but it wouldn’t have been the same without the 2018 HONDA CIVIC TOURING! As you know from having followed me, the Queen’s Plate is my party of the Summer and now being expanded to a three day Festival, mobility was crucial. We’ve been busier than ever and we looked forward to a weekend finally with even the slightest of “me time” in there. Work-life balance always is good, although we’ve been feeling pretty work-work only lately. With Billy just finishing his Chemotherapy and my going through a lot of work changes in scheduling has proven a bit stressful. We wanted a car we could rely on, which was no fuss as we already had more than enough on our mind.
A marriage of style and practicality, there is a reason why Canadians keep choosing the Honda Civic as their favourite car – a top-seller in the Country for 20 years. This edition more than ever veers further to the luxury with upscale fixings like a power moonroof, sleek leather seats (eight adjustable positions for the driver), the almost requisite rear-view camera, smartphone charging plate, rain-sensing windshield wipers and keyless entry/ignition. More importantly, with fuel being as pricy as it is right now, its ECON mode certainly will win a fan or two over. We test drove the 2018 HONDA CIVIC TOURING, far-stretching runs, and still hadn’t used a tank of gas six days counting. The car nails all the marks.
Boasting a 1.5-litre, 16-valve, Direct Injection, DOHC, turbocharged 4-cylinder, 174 hp* engine, we felt empowered every step of the way. Safety comes first with Honda Civics and its lane departure and lane watch systems were hard at work even when we tired after long days in the sweltering heat this past weekend. We are obsessed with the easy to use climate control panel and air conditioning kicked in at remarkable speeds when needed badly.
Connectivity is a huge selling point for us. Its charging plate, which worked well with our Samsung Galaxy, wouldn’t recognize some iPhones (iPhone 7) and newer Blackberrys (Key 2). Either way, the trusty USB port was an easy fix to that issue. A 452-watt AM/FM Premium audio system with 10 speakers (including subwoofer), sounded glorious and it’s always a blast catching-up with SIRIUS XM, although we went to Spotify a lot for our drives this time.
Alas, we had a bit of “us time” today by the water, courtesy of the 2018 Honda Civic Touring and we are grateful for it. Always make time for those you love most. One day you’ll look back and wish you did.
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 bysecond runner-up Cooler Mike and hisowner/trainer Nick Nosowenko.
Wonder Gadot likely is to be seen next at Fort Erie RacetrackTuesday, 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.
Safe to Say
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:
Santa Monica (GB)
Long on Value
Frank Stronach & Delta Prince
Ride a Comet
Tiz a Slam
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:
Elizabeth Dowdeswell & Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson
Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ Simoni Lawrence
Woodbine’s Tony Gattellaro and Phil Forde with the Cast of Letterkenny
Mike Holmes and Mike Holmes Jr.
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 #QP18style!
Bri Mott of Fashion at the Races
Breeder/Owner Yvonne Schwabe
Best Friends, jockeys Florent Geroux & Jerome Lermyte
Impeccably-outfitted power owner Kenneth Ramsey & family, including grandson trainer Nolan, who now is based at Woodbine
Liliana Garcia & Cynthia Hernandez
Princess (@APicbymrwill) and I in our matchy Festival Friday outfits:
More #QP18 sights and vibes:
The official #QP18cocktail, the Royal Flush
Fresh off Wonder Gadot‘s victory blanket
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!
Great news! The 159th edition of the Queen’s Plate has just been confirmed and unlike previous years, the Festival has been expanded to three days!
The marquee race itself, known as North America’s most historic horse race, also will take place on Saturday, June 30, 2018! That’s three days of food, fashion and fun. Country Superstar BRAD PAISLEY will be the musical headliner The Whiskey Lullaby and When I Get Where I’m Going Hitmaker will be performing on Friday, June 29th!
What better way to celebrate Canada Day weekend than three action-packed days of racing?
More updates and will follow soon, but in the meantime head over to Woodbine’s Facebook Page and RSVP here! Tickets will be on sale Friday, December 15, 2017.
It’s never too soon to start planning your outfits!
It may have been the 158th running of the Queen’s Plate but believe me, it never gets old! While #Canada150 and long weekend were very much on people’s minds this past weekend, that didn’t stop a huge crowd from filling up the Woodbine Racetrack grandstand trackside all the way up to the fourth floor. Known as the longest-running annual horse race in North America, the race now featured in a two-day long Festival is a huge annual draw deep in history and culture. Headlining the two days of concerts this year were Canada’s Our Lady Peace on the Saturday and Goo Goo Dolls on the Sunday. Fun fact: did you known OLP frontman Raine Maida is Sovereign Award-winning Trainer Barb Minshall‘s nephew? We didn’t know that until recently when that came-up in a conversation. Cool, right?
We had the pleasure of being Woodbine‘s first ever Facebook LiveQueen’s Plate Co-Host along with our new friend Jen Kirsch, influencer and relationship writer, checking-in on the fun and fashion with guests from the Hats & Horseshoes Party, presented by Stella Artois. We loved the eclectic range of outfits, many patriotic and #Canada150-themed and many nodding another era.
Cast members of The Real Housewives of Toronto, fashion icon Jeanne Beker, Goo Goo Dolls, hosts of CTV’s The Social and Rachael Ancheril of Rookie Blue were in attendance. We’re pretty sure you’ve seen the fashion spots on Woodbine‘s website leading-up to the Queen’s Plate right? Those were actually directed by the latter.
Frank Stronach and his Adena Springs team have been a major force now for many years in the sport and this was the case in the day’s marquee race, the $1-million Queen’s Plate taken in dominant fashion by his superfilly Holy Helena. Ridden by Luis Contreras and trained by U.S.-based James Jerkens, she won the race as the post-time favourite and we hear that she is being pointed to the prestigious Alabama Stakes at Saratoga where she will face the top three-year-old fillies in North America. She just may make one more start in Canada to qualify for a Sovereign Award as she has made just two starts in her native country in a brief but v. illustrious career!
Watch the race:
Other major winners Queen’s Plate Festival weekend included Russell Brand character namesake Aldous Snow (Singspiel Stakes), Financial Recovery (Ontario Damsel Stakes), Melmich (Dominion Day Stakes), Green Mask (Highlander Stakes), Yorkton (Charlie Barley Stakes), Go Bro (King Edward Stakes) and a rare dead-heat between Rainha da Bateria and Starship Jubilee (Dance Smartly Stakes).
See our Snaps:
Jen Kirsch + I
Holy Helena, her groom Denzil + Frank Stronach
Queen’s Plate heroine Holy Helena + I
A Holy Helena cupcake (courtesy of Hayley Morrison)
The adorable Contreras Family (family of Queen’s Plate-winning jockey Luis)
Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell + Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson
Rainha da Bateria + Starship Jubilee, your Dance Smartly Stakes victresses
Catherine Day Phillips (and family), winning Trainer of Ontario Damsel Stakes victress Financial Recovery
Yorkton, winner of the Charlie Barley Stakes
Woodbine‘s Dawn Lupul
Aldous Snow, winner of the Singspiel Stakes… a third time!
Green Mask, winner of the Highlander Stakes
Melmich, winner of the Dominion Day Handicap. His co-owner Cory Hoffman (front right) is the father of fellow Film Writer Matt Hoffman.
Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida
We loved meeting our VIP Paddock Party winners Maria + Brett (fourth down). Some Queen’s Plate Fashion 👒🎩:
Woodbine Handicapper Jim Bannon and former Woodbine announcer Dan Loiselle. Legends.
The official Queen’s Plate cocktail, the Blue Diamond 💎
Full House 🏠
The rain would not prevail!
While we were pretty much everywhere on Queen’s Plate Day, we loved seeing the faces of friends, new and old. If you couldn’t make it out this year, we hope to see you at the races this season as it goes till December! Beginning Friday nights in July, Woodbine will host a patio party called the Grandstand Social on the third floor at Champions.
All I Do is Win ✔
Everyone needs a selfie with the soon-to-be-iconic “ALL I DO IS WIN” neon sign which will be there!
Victory is so close, we can almost taste it! After a smashing effort from Princess on June 11th on Woodbine Oaks Day, our girl is back again of all days, Queen’s Plate Day! What a dream! We know this much, our girl sure loves an audience. We’re so excited we can’t even function!
What are we going to wear?!
In her previous race, Princess was paired for the first time ever with Woodbine‘s leading rider Eurico Rosa Da Silva and despite traffic issues in the stretch resulting in a lengthy claim of foul, our darling ran a game third, losing only by a length to Kentucky-bred Lady Brie. That one since has stepped-up to Allowance-levelcompany, a narrow second last weekend!
What thrilled us most is that Princess never gave up and kept fighting to the finish in that return to the main track after an okay effort on the wet turf the time before. She heard your cheers! This last effort very much is reminiscent of her second 2017 start where she showed that same fire. 🔥
Eurico adores Princess and tells us that she was perfect that day, doing everything right. He knew right away he wanted to be on her again for this next start. He’s confident Princess is on her way to a win. We’re so honoured and what better validation than that?
Grab some popcorn, let’s watch the race again!🍿
If we could compare Princess mentally to where she was last year, she still is the same sweet girl but we love that she’s so much more vocal and confident.
Her effortless workout this week under Joshua Scott speaks volumes! This girl is ready.
Princess‘ two-year-old full sister MISS G NOTE also just began her career at the races recently and had a smashing debut at long odds under Sheena Ryan (who rode Princess in 2016). A v. promising start. Watch her fly at the end! Congrats to our friends at Team Mike DePaulo. We understand their Mega Monster comes highly-regarded!
The Princessisters are in it to win it, watch out!
Check out some of that celebrity love from the stars!
It’s our favourite event of the summer! The Queen’s Plate is back and bigger than ever, expanded now to a two-day festival taking place Saturday, July 1–Sunday, June 2, 2017 at Woodbine Racetrack!
Tickets for the festival Sunday grant you access to concerts by this year’s headliners, Our Lady Peace (Saturday) and Goo Goo Dolls (Sunday).
In addition to being North America’s most historic horse race, now in its 158th edition, featuring the finest three-year-old horses in Canada, the Queen’s Plate Festival features plenty of fun, fashion, food and drink. You must experience its signature cocktail, the Blue Diamond!
Courtesy of Vaughan Mills, the best-dressed will have a chance to win a $1,000 gift card at the Fashion at the Races contest.
There also will be lots of fun giveaways throughout the weekend… but only if you are there!
Attendees also will get their first bet free! Don’t forget to download Woodbine‘s official app to qualify! More here.
You must not forget to walk the Red Carpet for a photo op.
Stay connected with the hashtag#QP17!
How about some fashion inspiration?
We want to give our Toronto readers a special opportunity to win special VIP Paddock Party passes, which include access to a private trackside viewing area, light snacks, drinks and access to a premium viewing area of the concerts! You must be 19 years of age to enter.
2. Click “like” this Post on our Instagram account too and tell us which #QP17 Contender you think will win at: @mrwillwong
3. Tag as many friends as you wish on this Instagram Post in the comments section whom you wish you could bring to the Queen’s Plate Festival!
To qualify, you must be following Woodbine on Instagram.
View this year’s Queen’s Plate Contenders, including race favourite and Woodbine Oaks presented by Budweiser winner HOLY HELENA, a filly facing the boys! Hover cursor over left and right to navigate the slideshow:
2016 certainly did not disappoint and Racing Fans were gifted with new memories to last a lifetime. Whether it be CAREN‘s complete domination locally, SIR DUDLEY DIGGES’ shocking Queen’s Plate upset, Turf Queen TEPIN‘s long-awaited and fruitful visit to Woodbine in the Woodbine Mile, ERUPT‘s explosive win in the Pattison Canadian International or just seeing some our favourites again and new faces emerging, the year gave us each a memory that holds a special meaning.
True to annual tradition, I’ve compiled my favourite snaps and compiled them into one video from my daily journeys to Woodbine here in Toronto, all the way to sunny Arcadia, California at the Breeders’ Cup. To an amazing 2017 that will have some big horseshoes to fill!
Be sure to check-out ONTARIO RACING‘s website and Social Media channels in the days leading up the Christmas for the stories behind some of my favourite moments.
2016: A YEAR IN HORSES
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong | Audio: Universal Music Group)