Race of the Week 2017

Moreno to Ride Athenian Guard in Queen's Plate

Last time out, in a 1 1/8-miles allowance tilt, Athenian Guard, trained by Mike DePaulo for A&L Racing Stables, looked well on his way to victory at the top of the lane when disaster struck.
"Justin Stein was on him and at the quarter pole he was going to the lead, racing in and around horses, and just as Justin was going to put the stick on him, he ducked in. I don't know if he shied from the stick, but that's what it looked like," explained DePaulo.
Stein came off Athenian Guard and ducked under the rail to safety while the horse was soon gathered up by the outrider.
Fortunately, both horse and rider walked away from the incident and will be back to race again in the Queen's Plate – though on different paths. Stein has been named aboard One Destiny, while Omar Moreno takes over on Athenian Guard.
"The horse didn't fall, but he stumbled a little, righted himself and finished the race. He got a good mile out of the race anyway," said DePaulo. "We'll take his blinkers off and that should settle him for the Plate."
In his final prep for the Plate, Athenian Guard breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 working in company with the well-regarded Pender Harbour who finished third in the 2011 Queen's Plate before taking the remaining two-thirds of the Triple Crown.
"They went head and head with no issues. Pender was on the inside and Athenian Guard was on the outside, with Omar on him, and they went together the whole work," said DePaulo.  "I was hoping some of Pender's ability would rub off and that Athenian Guard might learn a little bit from an old pro. They both needed the work and it was a good fitness work for both of them."
A win in the Plate would be a meaningful one for DePaulo.
"It would complete the Triple Crown for me as we've won the Prince of Wales twice and the Breeders' once. This is the biggest race for Canadians and it would be great to win it," said DePaulo. "His last race is hard to go by, but I think he was going to win fairly comfortably. Hopefully he can improve again and be right in the picture and get a big piece of it."


The "draft" style post position selection process will be utilized for the 154th running of the Queen's Plate on Thursday morning.
The draft draw, first used for the 1998 edition of the Plate, allows the owners and trainers of each runner in the race to choose their horse's post position.
The order of selection will be established by a random draw that is identical to the "pill pull" method used to determine Plate post positions before 1998.
After the selection sequence is drawn, owners and trainers will have a short consultation period to discuss their choice.
The "connections" will then, in order of the random draw, announce their post position selection.

A reminder that Thursday's Queen's Plate morning draw (9:30 a.m.) from the Woodbine walking ring will be streamed live at www.queensplate.com.  Further information and event details for Plate day are available there.


The weather forecast for Queen’s Plate day in Toronto is mostly sunny skies with a high of 28 degrees Celsius (83 degrees Fahrenheit).

Ami's Holiday / Josie Carroll / Ivan Dalos /Luis Contreras
Asserting Bear / Reade Baker / Bear Stables / Chantal Sutherland-Kruse
Athenian Guard / Mike DePaulo / A & L Racing Stables / Omar Moreno
Cap in Hand / Sid Attard / Tucci Stables / Steven Bahen
Coltimus Prime / Justin Nixon / Cabernet Racing Stables / Jesse Campbell
Heart to Heart / Brian Lynch / Terry Hamilton / Eurico Rosa da Silva
Lexie Lou / Mark Casse / Gary Barber / Patrick Husbands
Lions Bay / Jamie Attard / M. N. V. & J. Earle / David Moran
Majestic Sunset / Mark Casse / John Oxley / Gary Boulanger
Man o' Bear / Reade Baker / Bear Stables / Emma-Jayne Wilson
Matador / Mark Casse / John Oxley / Julien Leparoux
Niigon Express / Paul Attard / Chiefswood Stable / Gerry Olguin
One Destiny / Alec Fehr /Winston Penny & Alec Fehr / Justin Stein
Rhythm Blues / Nick Gonzalez / Hillsbrook Farms /TBA
Tower of Texas / Roger Attfield / Thomas Van Meter II & Scott Dilworth / John Velazquez
We Miss Artie / Todd Pletcher / Ken & Sarah Ramsey / Javier Castellano


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