Saturday’s 10th race at Canada’s Woodbine Racetrack will be the running of the Queen’s Plate Stakes. The Queen’s Plate is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown and is the longest continuously run race in North America, with this being its 159th consecutive year. A full field of 16 Canadian foaled 3-yr olds will line up to go 1-1/4 miles over Woodbine’s all-weather surface for a $1,000,000 purse. (That’s 1,000,000 Canadian dollars which is approximately $750,100 USD). This year’s version will present a nice mix of colts, fillies as well as a couple of geldings.
Woodbine’s all-weather surface has been running fairly with no noticeable pace nor post position bias. Front runners win about 25% of the time and the deepest of closers still have a legitimate shot. This is what makes Woodbine one of my favorite tracks to wager on.
In a 16 horse field, I was surprised at how little legitimate early speed was represented. 30-1 long shot Inge has shown the best early speed figures, yet he is winless since December of last year. Fellow long shot Cooler Mike will try to get out but he is just not quick enough. Strike Me Down, a Graham Motion trainee, will also be up close, along with sprinter Silent Poet.
Morning line favoritism belongs to a pair of Mark Casse trainees. From post 10 will be 5/2 Telekinesis, with Patrick Husbands aboard, and to his right will be 3-1 Wonder Gadot, with John Velasquez up. Telekinesis will be making only his 5th lifetime start, with his most recent effort being a victory in the Queen’s Plate Trial here at Woodbine.
Stablemate Wonder Gadot will be returning to Canada after a long run of near misses in graded stakes company here in the states. Her biggest “almost” was a runner-up try in the G1 Kentucky Oaks on Derby weekend.
I expect the race to set up with modest fractions after the cavalry charge out of the gate. Silent Poet may be called on to use her speed and try to steal the race on the front end while several contenders battle for early position. By the time they hit the backstretch, Inge and Silent Poet will be sitting 1-2, with Roses Vision and Strike Me Down in the 2nd tier. John Velasquez on Wonder Gadot will be watching Telekinesis and Dixie Moon, making sure neither of those stalwarts gets too big of a jump on her.
The horse I will be backing is the filly, Wonder Gadot. In the Woodbine Oaks on June 11th, Wonder Gadot hopped out of the gate and then was completely squeezed back and shut off at the start. She rallied steadily while wide and still barely missed getting to the wire first. She was beaten a nose by Dixie Moon who sat comfortably in 2nd to a slow pace. She will be adding blinkers for the first time this week and I think this will be enough in her first try against the boys.