Seventy-three horses have been made eligible for the 154th edition of the Queen’s Plate.
The historic Queen's Plate, set for July 7 at Woodbine, is North America’s longest continuously-run stakes race and first jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.
A $500 payment must have accompanied the nomination by May 1.
Last year, Canyon Farms’ Strait of Dover went wire-to-wire over Woodbine's Polytrack to earn the winner’s share of the $1 million (Canadian funds) purse.
Many from the country’s strong 2-year-old Canadian-bred crop last year are pointing to the 1 1/4-mile race as well as several recently emerging sophomores.
Dynamic Sky , fresh off a bid on the Triple Crown trail, is considered by many to be the division leader. Trained by Mark Casse for John Oxley, the Ontario-bred has two stakes wins, including the Simcoe at Woodbine last year. He finished sixth in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) in November.
Coronation Futurity hero Up With the Birds is also well-regarded after a win and a second in turf stakes in the United States over the winter. The Malcolm Pierce trainee would be win number six for Sam-Son Farm.
River Seven should be well-backed after a win in the Grey Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine in October and some fine winter preparations in Florida for trainer Nick Gonzalez and Tucci Stables. Gonzalez won the Plate in 2011 with Big Red Mike.
Pyrite Mountain is thought by many to have emerged as the race’s favorite after his fine score in the Wando Stakes May 5. Mark Frostad, who has four wins in the Plate, trains the colt for Awesome Again Racing.
Also nominated is Uncaptured , Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year, but the Casse trainee is not expected to remain on the Queen’s Plate trail.
Twelve fillies are also on the list, including the promising Nipissing, who is trained by Rachel Halden. Nipissing's owner, Chiefswood Stables, captured the Plate in 2004 with Niigon. Also nominated is Spring in the Air, Casse and Oxley’s reigning champion 2-year-old filly.