Midnight Aria won the 2013 Queen's Plate.

Midnight Aria won the 2013 Queen's Plate.

Michael Burns

Queen's Plate Hero Midnight Aria Tops Autumn

Midnight Lute colt looks to return to his classic form of 2013 in 1 1/16-mile test.

Tucci Stables' Midnight Aria, wire-to-wire winner of last year's Queen's Plate, will look to get back in the stakes column as he takes on five rivals in the $200,000 Autumn Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine Nov. 9.

The 4-year-old son of Midnight Lute  will be making only his third start this year. He returned from a 13-month layoff following his 16-1 score in the Queen's Plate with a poor effort in a starter allowance race. But he bounced back with a wire-to-wire score in an allowance/optional claimer for trainer Nick Gonzalez Sept. 28. The bay colt breaks from post 5 with jockey Jesse Campbell aboard.

Midnight Aria's main threat looks to be Melnyk Racing Stables' Lukes Alley, who will attempt to make it four victories in his past five starts.

The 4-year-old homebred son of Flower Alley is coming off his first career stakes victory, capturing the grade III Durham Cup Oct. 4 by three-quarters of a length. The Josie Carroll-trained colt, who carries co-top weight of 121 pounds, is making only his ninth career start. He seems to be finding his best form following a sixth-place finish in last year's Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) on the grass.

Lukes Alley will break from post 2 with regular rider Luis Contreras aboard.

Another threat looks to come from the hard-knocking 6-year-old Alpha Bettor, who won the Autumn Stakes last year following a second in the Durham Cup. This year, the son of Alphabet Soup has a pair of allowance victories, but has been out of the money in his past three starts, all stakes appearance.

Trainer Danny Vella took the blinkers off Alpha Bettor for the Durham Cup and following a fourth-place finish, he puts them back on for Autumn, in which he will break from the rail. H e should get a good position with his tactical speed with Justin Stein aboard.

Christophe Clement ships in an interesting colt in War Correspondent , a 4-year-old son of War Front  who had two wins, a second, and a third in France before being sent to America. In his U.S. debut Sept. 13, he stalked the pace in an allowance/optional claimer before drawing off to a four-length victory. Patrick Husbands will ride.

Another contender is Are You Kidding Me, trained by Roger Attfield, who is coming off a third-place finish in the Durham Cup after leading most of the way. The son of Run Away and Hide  captured the Kent Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park in his final start of 2013. He carries co-top weight of 121 pounds.

Rounding out the field is Eirigh, who took nine races to break his maiden, but has won his last two, including an 8 3/4-length romp in a first-level Woodbine allowance race last time out.

Entries: Autumn S. (G2)

Woodbine, Sunday, November 09, 2014, Race 8

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/16m
  • All Weather Track
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 4:27 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Alpha Bettor (KY)Justin Stein121Daniel J. Vella-
22Lukes Alley (ON)Luis Contreras121Josie Carroll-
33War Correspondent (KY)Patrick Husbands117Christophe Clement-
44Eirigh (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateEurico Rosa Da Silva117Nicholas Gonzalez-
55Midnight Aria (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateJesse M. Campbell117Nicholas Gonzalez-
66Are You Kidding Me (KY)David Moran119Roger L. Attfield-