Get ready racefans, it's time for our neighbor to the North's Kentucky Derby. The Queen's Plate is the biggest of all the big races in Canada, and with 151 previous editions, it has a long and storied past. Horses like Northern Dancer, With Approval, Izvestia, Peteski, Wando, and the star filly Dance Smartly, have graced the Queen's Plate winner's circle over the years. On Sunday, a new name will be etched proudly into the history of Canadian racing. A field of seventeen has been entered, with Check Your Soul listed as the 3-1 early favorite. Of the seventeen, males make up sixteen of the group, while a singular filly stands alone to take on the boys. Don't feel too bad for Inglorious though, she has more than just a punter's chance to come home with all the glory.
Inglorious, one of two horses that trainer Josie Carroll will run in the Queen's Plate, has been installed as the 9-2 third choice in the 1 1/4-mile test at Woodbine Racetrack. In her last race the bay daughter of Hennessy, out of the Smart Strike mare, Noble Strike, rolled to victory in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, on June 5, when she collared pacesetter Spooky Kitten in deep stretch for the three-quarter length score. Despite the lack of pace to set things up for her patented rally, Inglorious had plenty down the lane to prove superior to her own gender set. Winning at Woodbine is nothing new for Inglorious, as the Oaks stretched her record to a perfect four out of four at the Suburban Toronto oval. All four wins came in stakes races, including her career debut when she won a $150,000 stakes race with ease. Further lending belief that the filly can take this big step, is the way she has won each of her races at Woodbine in impressive fashion. It is clear that she is too good for the sophomore fillies in Canada.
So the logical step was to take the leap and give Inglorious the ultimate test. Getting a filly ready to compete in a male dominated race would seem to be a great fit for her female trainer. In 2006, Carroll became the first female conditioner to win the Queen's Plate with Edenwold. Her top charge will have Woodbine’s leading rider, Luis Contreras, in the saddle, and the pair will break from the #9 hole, fittingly leaving eight horses on either side of the filly.
Class should not be the question for Inglorious, who has won four of six overall, with her both of her losses coming in good performances against top American fillies at the Fair Grounds. With already over $650,000 in winnings to her credit, she is far and away the leading money winner in the field. While Marine winner, and John Velazquez's mount, Queens'platekitten, is named for the occasion, and deserving favorite, Check The Soul is coming off an eye-catching victory in the Plate Trial, it is Inglorious who is the only one who has proven to be of high class from the very beginning.
There haven't been many fillies to win the Queen's Plate, but Inglorious looks to continue a feminine trend. It was 20 years ago, when in 1991 the great Dance Smartly won the Canadian Classic on the way to a Triple Crown. Ten years later, it was her daughter, Dancethruthedawn, who beat the boys to win the Queen's Plate. Now another ten years later, another filly will enter the starting gate with a big chance to be racing's newest star. Can Inglorious do it? Yes she can. In fact she is my top pick.
[And for all the latest on the Queen's Plate, be sure to check out Thoroughly Woodbine on HRN.]