Harlem Rocker Empty in Plate Trial
Photo: Michael Burns
Not Bourbon takes the Plate Trial over Solitaire. Heavily favored Harlem Rocker was fourth.
Harlem Rocker, regarded as one of the top 3-year-olds in North America and briefly under consideration for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), failed in his first two-turn test June 1 at Woodbine. The son of Macho Uno   finished a well-beaten fourth in the $150,800 Plate Trial Stakes.

Going off as the overwhelming 3-10 favorite, Harlem Rocker was last in the early stages under Eibar Coa, came up to challenge three-wide around the final turn, and then flattened out in the stretch during the nine-furlong race on Polytrack. While Harlem Rocker was faltering in the final furlong, there was a thrilling finish in the Plate Trial, with second choice Not Bourbon desperately holding off Solitaire in the final stride to earn his second stakes victory in a row.

Owned by Charles Fipke and trained by Roger Attfield, Not Bourbon stalked the early pace, took over before the furlong marker, and opened up a clear lead in the stretch under Jono Jones. But Solitaire, who was near the back throughout much of the route, came barreling down the lane, ducked inside for his final run, and fell a neck short with Robert Landry aboard. Sebastian’s Song was third.

The final time was 1:49.73.

The Plate Trial is the local prep for Woodbine’s $1-million Queen’s Plate Stakes, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown which will be held June 22.

A  Frank Stronach homebred, Harlem Rocker entered the race undefeated in three starts, his last effort an impressive 2 1/2-length score in the one-mile Withers (gr. III) April 24 at Aqueduct. Trainer Todd Pletcher toyed with the idea of entering the gray/roan colt in the May 17 Preakness (gr. I), but decided to pursue the Canadian Triple Crown.

A son of Not Impossible--Bourbon Belle, by Storm Boot, Not Bourbon is now 4-2-1 from nine starts. He entered the Plate Trial off a resounding five-length score in the May 3 Queenston Stakes at seven furlongs.

The winner paid $9.90, $4.90, and $9.20. The exacta (2-5) returned $59.10, while the trifrecta was worth $335.70. Sebastian's Song paid $26.10 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)

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