The Two Bit Racing Stable's A Bit O'Gold has been made the 2-1 favorite in a field of 13 drawn for Sunday's 145th Queen's Plate at Woodbine.
The $1 million event, the opening leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, is for 3-year-olds bred in Canada going 1 1/4 miles.
A Bit O'Gold, a son of Gold Feverwho will be ridden by Jono Jones for trainer Catherine Day Phillips, comes into the Plate off a spectacular 3 1/4-length score in the 1 1/18-mile Plate Trial June 6.
"You always have to look at the next stage," Phillips said. "Touch wood, we have our game plan and we will take things one day at a time."
Off a step slow in the Plate Trial, Jones engineered an energetic run from 'Goldie,' crossing the wire a comfortable winner with fellow Plate rival Niigon in second.
"I was a little concerned heading into the first turn because he was a little wide, but he settled in nicely," noted Phillips. "You can always tell by the way Jono sits on a horse as to how much horse he has. I could see he was sitting relaxed. We were hoping for one big run and that's what we got. He was all business. Jono was quite pleased."
A Bit O'Gold, who won the Coronation Futurity at Woodbine in November, attempts to become the first Trial winner to take the Queen's Plate since Alydeed in 1992.
Niigon, a son of Unbridled broke his maiden in May and followed that effort with an encouraging second in the Plate Trial. He drew the extreme outside starting position and will have Robert Landry aboard.
Toronto native Stewart Elliott, the jockey for Triple Crown threat Smarty Jones, will ride Long Pond, who is owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk and trained by Mark Casse. Long Pond has two wins this year, including a 1 1/16-mile allowance test at Woodbine June 6.
Copper Trail, trained by Jim Day, was a troubled second by six lengths to Organ Grinder in the Victoria Park Stakes in his last start June 13. Organ Grinder is not eligible for the Queen's Plate.
Sam-Son Farms' juvenile star Silver Ticket, thought to be out of the Plate picture after having an ankle chip removed late last year, trounced five rivals in a June 5 comeback race on the turf to earn a spot. He'll be ridden by Todd Kabel for trainer Mark Frostad.$1 Million Queen's Plate Stakes, Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, 1 1/4 mile
1/Long Pond/Mark Casse/Stewart Elliott/8-1
2/Copper Trail/Jim Day/Na Somsanith/6-1
3/Will He Crow/Tim Regan/Steven Bahen/30-1
4/Archer Fleet/Vito Armata/Simon Husbands/50-1
5/Strike Em Hard/Dave Cotey/Emile Ramsammy/50-1
6/Alleged Ruler/Eric Coatrieux/Slade Callaghan/15-1
7/Night Sky/Dan Vella/Jim McAleney/12-1
8/Kent Ridge/Mark Casse/Patrick Husbands/20-1
9/Silver Ticket/Mark Frostad/Todd Kabel/10-1
10/A Bit O' Gold/Catherine Day Phillips/Jono Jones/2-1
11/His Smoothness/Jim Day/Jim McKnight50-1
12/Just In Case Jimmy/Roger Attfield/Richard Dos Ramos/20-1
13/Niigon/Eric Coatrieux/Robert Landry/7-2