Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s We Miss Artie
, winner of the Plate Trial on
June 15, has been installed as the 8-5 morning line choice in a field of
15 for the $1 million Queen’s Plate, Canada’s most famous horse race, Sunday
The 155th edition of the Plate for Canadian-foaled three-year-olds,
the oldest continuously run stakes race in North America, will be
televised live on TSN in HD (High Definition) in a special presentation
from 4:30 – 6:00 pm ET. Post time is 5:38 pm.
The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Right Honourable David C. Onley, will be the Royal Guest of Honour.
All starters carry 126 pounds, except the lone filly Lexie Lou, who
will tote 121 pounds for the mile and one-quarter classic over
Woodbine’s Polytrack. The winner will receive $600,000.
At the Queen’s Plate breakfast on Thursday
morning, the selection order for post positions was drawn first via the
traditional ‘pill-pull’, followed by the choosing of post positions by
the connections for each horse, a system which has been in place for
the Plate since 1998.
We Miss Artie (PP6, 8-5), trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by
Javier Castellano, proved a comfortable winner of the Trial by
three-quarters of a length over Majestic Sunset, his first outing at
Woodbine and his first start since a 10th place finish,
just eight and one-quarter lengths behind California Chrome in the
Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3. He’ll try to become the 26th Plate Trial winner since 1944 to win the Plate, the last being Big Red Mike in 2010.
“I think my horse ran really well (in the Trial),” said owner Ken
Ramsey, after choosing post six with the second selection. “(Jockey
Javier) Castellano said he was saving himself for the Queen’s Plate.
He’s doing exceptionally well (at Saratoga).”
Earlier this year, the son of Artie Schiller-Athena’s Gift won the
Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park and last year took the Breeders’ Futurity
at Keeneland, both also on Polytrack. With his Trial win, the $90,000
Keeneland yearling purchase remained unbeaten
on synthetic surfaces. He’s also the field’s leading money winner with
$699,000. Pletcher won the 1998 Plate with Archers Bay, while
Castellano just missed in the 2008 renewal aboard filly Ginger Brew, a
head behind Not Bourbon.
Six-time Sovereign Award-winning trainer Mark Casse, still seeking
his first Plate win, sends out a trio of hopefuls – John Oxley’s Matador
and Majestic Sunset and Gary Barber’s Lexie Lou.
Lexie Lou (PP14, 4-1), to be ridden by Patrick Husbands, who was
aboard Wando for his successful 2003 Triple Crown (Queen’s Plate, Prince
of Wales, Breeders’ Stakes), enters off a smashing performance in the
Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser. The
daughter of Sligo Bay-Oneexcessivenite not only proved an easy four and
one-half length winner in the Canadian-bred three-year-old filly
classic on June 15 but also ran the mile and one-eighth distance in
1:49.77, a full second faster than We Miss Artie’s
time in the Plate Trial a race earlier.
“The reason we took outside is we want to let the speed go,”
explained Casse, who, selecting 11th, chose post 14. “I can see her
second tier. Patrick gets paid the big money, we’ll let him figure it
out from there.”
Last year, Lexie Lou ran in the interests of owner-trainer John
Ross, earning more than $300,000. But after her first start this year,
he sold the filly to Gary Barber. “It was really Gary’s idea. He
looked at her and liked her. We bought her because
we thought she should excel on the grass. We’ve been lucky. John
did a great job with her. We were just lucky enough to take over and
she ran a big race.”
Lexie Lou, who has earned $649,250, will try to become the 35th
filly to win the Plate since 1860, the seventh since 1956 and the sixth
to win both the Oaks and the Plate, joining Flaming Page (1962), La
Lorgnette (1985), Dance Smartly (1991), Dancethruthedawn
(2001) and Inglorious (2011).
Matador (PP10, 8-1), a son of Malibu Moon-I’m Breathtaking, won the
turf Cup and Saucer last year at Woodbine and enters off a romp in an
allowance contest over the Polytrack on May 28.
The 8-1 third choice will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, who was
aboard the colt for his four-race campaign in the United States earlier
this year, when his connections had tried to point him to a possible
Kentucky Derby berth.
“He’s a little slow to begin,” explained Casse, after choosing
post 10 with the third selection. “If he was down inside, I’m afraid he
might eat a little too much Poly. So this way, we have a great rider
in Julien Leparoux. He can see how he’s running
early and pick a position.”
Majestic Sunset (PP7, 15-1), to be ridden by Gary Boulanger, who
rode Dancethruthedawn to an Oaks and Plate win in 2001, is still a
maiden after nine outings, but was runner-up to We Miss Artie in the
Plate Trial and was second to another Plate rival,
Asserting Bear, in last year’s Coronation Futurity. The son of Artie
Schiller will try to become the fourth horse to break his maiden in the
Plate since 1952, the latest to do so being Scatter the Gold in 2000.
Oxley’s Dynamic Sky and Spring in the Air finished third and
fourth, respectively, in last year’s Plate, while Casse’s best finish
came in 2011 with longshot runner-up Hippolytus.
Trainer Josie Carroll, who has trained two Plate winners (Edenwold
in 2006, Inglorious in 2011) sends out the Ivan Dalos homebred Ami’s
Holiday (PP15, 10-1). Last year, the son of Harlan’s
Holiday-Victorious Ami won the Grade 3 Grey Stakes, but finished
fifth, and was subsequently disqualified to seventh, as the favourite
in the Coronation Futurity.
This year, he’s only had two starts – fourth to Mr. Speaker in the
Grade 3 Lexington, then a troubled third (elevated to second via
disqualification of the winner) in the Marine Stakes May 25 at Woodbine, just a neck from the winner’s circle. Aboard
will be Luis Contreras, who teamed with Carroll to win the 2011 Plate and the Oaks with the filly Inglorious.
Trainer Reade Baker will send out a pair for Bear Stables –
Asserting Bear and Man o’ Bear. Asserting Bear (PP4, 10-1) was the
disqualified winner of the Marine on May 25
but last year pulled an upset by taking the Coronation Futurity. The
son of Bear’s
Kid-Star Guest, who will be ridden by Chantal Sutherland-Kruse, had
also been on the Kentucky Derby trail earlier this year before returning
Man o’ Bear (PP5, 30-1) will be ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, the
only female jockey to win the Plate, having done so in 2007 with Mike
Fox. The son of Corinthian-Mahalo has only started once this year,
finishing fifth to We Miss Artie in the Plate Trial,
after recovering from a cracked cannon bone suffered when finishing a
game third to stablemate Asserting Bear in last year’s Coronation
Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield will try for a record ninth
Queen’s Plate win when saddling Tower of Texas (PP12, 20-1) for owners
Thomas Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth. The son of 2007 Kentucky Derby
winner Street Sense was most recently third to
We Miss Artie, four lengths in arrears in the Plate Trial and was
fourth to Asserting Bear in the Marine, but just a length behind.
He’ll be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who finished second
aboard Sterwins in the 2006 Plate. Attfield, tied with
Harry Giddings Jr. for most Plate wins, last won the ‘Gallop for the
Guineas’ with Not Bourbon in 2008. Attfield chose post 12, with the
sixth selection, since both Not Bourbon and Izvestia (1990) won the
Plate from that post for him.
A history-making story surrounding this year’s Plate is the Attard
family – Hall of Fame trainer Sid Attard and his two sons, Paul and
Jamie. It will mark the first time in Plate history that a father and
two sons have saddled separate entries in the
Sid Attard will put the saddle on Tucci Stables’ Cap in Hand (PP1,
50-1), to be ridden by Steven Bahen, who steered T J’s Lucky Moon, at
82-1, to victory in the 2002 Plate, the second longest priced winner in
the race’s history. As well, Tucci Stables
will be looking for consecutive Plate wins after taking last year’s
renewal with Midnight Aria. Both are sons of two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Midnight Lute and both were claimed by Tucci Stables – Midnight
Aria for $35,000 at Gulfstream Park in
January of 2013 and Cap in Hand for $25,000 in December of last year at
Woodbine. Attard’s best Plate finish was a second with longshot Grand
Hooley in 1992, his first Plate starter.
Paul Attard sends out Niigon Express (PP13, 30-1), a Chiefswood
Stable homebred and son of 2004 Plate winner Niigon, also bred and raced
by Chiefswood. The two-time winner in six career starts will be
ridden by Gerry Olguin. Attard chose post 13 in
honour of the late Niigon, who won the Plate from that post. He’ll try
to become the eighth Plate winner since 1956 to be sired/foaled by a
Jamie Attard’s hopes rest with homebred Lions Bay (PP8, 30-1), a
two-time winner in only three outings for the Earle family. David
Moran, who finished third in the 2010 Plate with Roan Inish, will once
again be aboard the offspring of Sligo Bay.
Cabernet Racing Stables’ Coltimus Prime (PP2, 20-1), trained by
Justin Nixon, is a two-time stakes-placed winner. The son of Milwaukee
Brew will be handled by Jesse Campbell, who won last year’s Plate aboard
The last jockey to win back-to-back Plates was Eurico Rosa da Silva
(2009 with Eye of the Leopard, 2010 with Big Red Mike), who will be
aboard Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart (PP9, 30-1) for trainer Brian
Lynch. The stakes-placed, two-time winner was
fourth to Asserting Bear in last year’s Coronation Futurity and was
most recently sixth to him in the Marine. Lynch just missed winning
the 2008 Plate with Oaks winner Ginger Brew, finishing a head behind Not
Completing the field are One Destiny (PP11, 30-1), a one-time
winner in only three starts for co-owners Winston Penny and trainer Alec
Fehr, with Justin Stein, who rode Strait of Dover to victory in the
2012 Plate and Athenian Guard (PP3, 50-1), trained
by Mike DePaulo for A & L Racing Stables, with Omar Moreno.
Of the 15 starters in this year’s Plate, 13 have connections
(owner, trainer and/or jockey) who have previously won the Plate. Only
one horse in the field, One Destiny, did not start at two. The last
Plate winner unraced as a juvenile was Eye of the
The Queen’s Plate is the first leg in the Canadian Triple Crown.
The second leg is the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, at one mile and
three-sixteenths on Tuesday, July 29 at Fort Erie, while the $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes, at one mile and one-half on
the grass, August 17
at Woodbine, comprises the third and final leg. There have been seven
Triple Crown winners since the concept was inaugurated in 1959, the
first being New Providence in 1959, the latest being Wando in 2003.
Since 1956, the stakes record for the Plate is 2:01 4/5,
set by Izvestia in 1990, when he also won by the largest margin, 13
lengths. Strait of Dover, the 2012 winner, owns the fastest Polytrack
time, 2:01.99, since 2007. The longest-priced winner in
the modern era (since 1956) is T J’s Lucky Moon ($166) in 2002 while
Maternal Pride is the highest-priced winner of all time, paying $193.35
in 1924. Favourites have done well in the Plate since 1956, winning 22
of 58 renewals (37%). However, Wando in 2003,
and Eye of the Leopard in 2009, are the only favourites to win in the
last 19 editions.
Three other stakes, all of them on the grass, will be part of the
Queen’s Plate Day undercard – the $200,000 Dance Smartly, at one mile
and one-eighth, the $200,000 Highlander at six furlongs and the $150,000
Singspiel at one and one-half miles. First
race post time is 12 Noon.