In light of today’s news in the Daily Racing Form announcing that Canadian star Inglorious will run next in Alabama at Saratoga, on behalf of racing fans in Canada and the industry itself, I’d like to take a few minutes to stop you from making a mistake.
As breeders and owners taking full advantage of the stakes program that exists in Ontario, in particular at Woodbine and, next weekend, at Fort Erie, you owe it to the industry and its loyal fans to carry on to the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown of Racing.
We all saw her – 30,000 of us on track live – show the best of her ability in the Queen’s Plate. Now 5-for-5 north of the border, she is a true Canadian star. Her name should be on a t-shirt and used to bring new fans to the track (but that’s another letter to another entity). The point is, she has the potential to do for Canadian racing what With Approval, Izvestia, Peteski, Dance Smartly and Wando all did. Two more wins and her name is engraved in history beside Dance Smartly’s as the only other female Triple Crown winner. Isn’t the thought of that far more attractive than one Grade 1 race at Saratoga? It’s not like it’s a race you haven’t won – you won it a few years ago with Careless Jewell. Did it change your life? A bit, maybe. Would a Triple Crown winner? Most definitely.
The Queen’s Plate does not exist in a vacuum. For decades it has been part of a three race series that any breeder would give half their broodmare band to win. It is designed with the intention of providing a target for owners of eligible Canadian-breds to compete for – whether they are colts or fillies. The fact that Inglorious is a filly didn’t deter you from running her in the Queen’s Plate and handing 16 Canadian-bred colts and geldings their head. Assuming she exited sound, the fact that she’s a filly shouldn’t stop you from resuming the rivalry at the Border Oval. She’s proven she’s on par – and then some – with the boys. Let’s remember you made her eligible for the Triple Crown – not the Plate. The Prince of Wales is the natural next step in this program.
It’s worth posing another question. If Inglorious were a Queen’s Plate winning colt, would you be skipping the Prince of Wales and heading South for the Haskell or the Travers? Essentially, it’s the same logic. If you’re answer is yes, then you probably shouldn’t be in the business of racing Canadian-breds.
The Bill Tallon article quotes Josie Carroll as saying need to give the filly ‘extra time’ between races was part of decision. Not buying that piece of swampland. Rumours about the Alabama have filtered to the front side of the Woodbine grandstand before she was cooled out and back at the barn. This decision isn’t about whether she’s fit and ready.
The Queen’s Plate is Canada’s Kentucky Derby. Would the Derby winner skip the Preakness? Why would the Plate winner skip the Prince of Wales? It may even be a good test in its own right? Last time we checked, Inglorious is 0-for-dirt racing. Good chance for the Plate champ to get her hooves dirty before tackling graded types in New York or Kentucky.
Nobody is saying run her forever in Canada. She’s your filly and you have a right to aspire to whatever heights. If you’re already thinking about her value as a broodmare, fine. But, you have the rest of this year, next year and the year after to win a Grade 1 with this filly. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you abandon plans to go to the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks because a total of $1.5 million in purses waited for you at Woodbine because your filly was foaled in Canada? That plan went pretty well didn’t it? Why not stay the course and let her finish something truly grand right here at home.
Dancethruthedawn, the last filly to win the Oaks and Plate before Inglorious, went on to Fort Erie and lost the POW by a dirty nose. It didn’t stop her from eventually going south and winning important graded stakes in the United States.
If Inglorious is asked to prop, wheel and turns her back on next weekend’s Prince of Wales, she is snubbing Fort Erie, the Canadian Triple Crown of Racing and the lucrative Canadian stakes program – taking for granted years of work devoted to elevating it to its current level.
If you skip the Prince of Wales and carry on to Saratoga, you’re not just taking her out of Canada, you’re taking her away from the thousands of Canadian racing fans who fell in love with her at the Plate – they wouldn’t have necessarily gone with her to the Prince of Wales, but there’s a good chance many would have been back at Woodbine for the Breeders’ Stakes to see her perform the sweep.
It may sound audacious for a racing fan to dictate a racing schedule to an owner, but somebody has to stick up for the racing program and call a spade a spade. This game prematurely loses too many stars to attrition, as it is. But to watch a star leave town when there’s a perfectly viable, local alternative, steeped in tradition, is much, much worse.
Please reconsider and take Inglorious to Fort Erie on July 17.