- Ten three year olds are entered in Sunday’s Grade 1 Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Like its American counterpart, it’s a mile and a quarter, and in this case anyway, none of the entrants have been more than 9 furlongs. Five of the horses are at least partly owned by Americans, and it’s not hard to figure out why.
It's also a restricted race, meaning that only horses foaled in Canada can take part. Look at how many thoroughbreds were foaled in the United States this year (an estimated 34,000) and compare it with the number foaled in Canada (2,580), and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that if it's a million dollars you're after, the Queen's Plate gives you far better odds than a million-dollar race south of the border. [Toronto Globe and Mail]The morning line favorite is Dance With Ravens (A.P. Indy), who was arranged to be put on this Earth for this moment and basically this moment alone. His mother, the great Dance Smartly, won the Plate, as did two of his half-brothers. [Toronto Star] He comes off his controversial DQ from first to sixth in the Plate Trial, a result which has yet to be adjudicated by the racing commission. Dance With Ravens has never crossed the wire out of the money in 6 starts, and should obviously have little trouble with the distance based on his breeding, though he did just hang on in the Trial through a :13 second last eighth after stalking a slow pace. His trainer Mark Frostad mentioned something about Todd Kabel moving too soon. Three in the Bag was declared the winner in the Plate Trial; in his prior race he ran second to Reverberate in a N1X allowance at Belmont. He closed well 4 wide to miss by a neck, and the son of Silver Deputy out of a Pleasant Colony mare may benefit from the 10th furlong. I'd posted more about the Plate Trial and these two contenders here.
Get Down was actually favored in the Plate Trial, having come off an 8 1/2 length win in a N2X allowance race. He forced the tepid pace and tired to third (placed second), and despite Richard Migliore coming north for the ride, I don’t see much reason why the extra distance should benefit him.
Gold Strike (Smart Strike) seeks to become the 5th filly to win the race. She's destroyed the fillies in her last two, and is the only 2005 graded stakes winner in the field as well as owning the highest fig. But as I noted yesterday, her trainer Reade Baker seems quite concerned that it’s been just two weeks since her win in the Woodbine Oaks. Here’s more:
"She was pretty tired....The heat really took its toll on her. It took her a long time to walk back home after she was in the winner's circle. Three weeks back would be perfect, but we're going to have to make do with two weeks." [Daily Racing Form].There's disclosure for you; can you imagine Julio Canani having said stuff like this?
Wild Desert is a big wild card here. I had bought into him as a Derby contender at one point, and I liked him in the Lane’s End when he rallied for second behind Flower Alley. But he’s been away since running far behind Afleet Alex in the Arkansas Derby. He had just one published workout, at Monmouth, before a breeze at Woodbine yesterday, but that apparently doesn’t mean it was his only work.
Gate Artis, Monmouth's head clocker, acknowledges that it is possible that Wild Desert, being relatively unknown locally, could have worked without being recorded.Well, that's not much disclosure at all! His trainer is now listed as Bobby Frankel, taking over for Richard Dutrow, taking over for Ken McPeek. Who knows if Frankel has ever seen this horse. After the Stephen Foster, I read his comment that he touched Saint Liam for the first time when saddling him prior to the race. In this case, he may just be communicating with the horse by cellphone and fax.
Monmouth, unlike Woodbine and some other major racing jurisdictions, does not require horses to be identified before training.
"Usually they call them in, about 90 percent of the time," said Artis. "But sometimes, they don't." [Daily Racing Form]
With no offense intended to my friends and readers to the north, where things seem a bit saner than they currently are here, I’m going to take a shot with one of the U.S.
King of Jazz
Three in the Bag
Dance With Ravens