Big Red Mike was making his stakes debut and his first try at 1 1/8 miles. Under strong urging from jockey Eurico Da Silva, Big Red Mike held off Mobilizer following a long stretch battle by a half-length in a Polytrack time of 1:50.41.
A Terra Racing Stable homebred, the 3-year-old son of Tenpins--Regent n'Flashy, by Vice Regent, is headed for the July 4 Queen's Plate, winning trainer Nicholas Gonzalez said immediately after the race.
Da Silva directed Big Red Mike straight to the lead and the chestnut gelding dictated the pace throughout while leading 7-5 favorite Hollinger through reserved quarter-mile fractions of :24.67, :49.69 and 1:13.46.
Early on the final turn, Hollinger, the winter book favorite for the Queen's Plate, pressed forward to nearly get even with Big Red Mike but the 8-1 outsider repelled that challenge to inch away again. Mobilizer, always close while helping force the pace for Jono Jones along the inside in fourth, found room at the rail coming off the bend to reach even terms with the leader at the head of the lane.
Those two laid it down for the entire length of the stretch, with Mobilizer in front for a few strides. But Big Red Mike, under a right-handed stick, got a head's advantage at the eighth pole and surged approaching the wire to hold on over his determined challenger.
"He was running so relaxed early," said Da Silva, who rode Big Red Mike for the first time in the Plate Trial. (In the stretch) He turned into 'I'm the man!' This horse tries so hard. I'm so proud of him."
Hollinger faded to last in the eight-horse field, more than 14 lengths behind the winner.
After breaking his maiden in his second start December 6 at Woodbine, Big Red Mike raced twice more prior to the Plate Trial. He ran second in a first-level allowance at seven furlongs at Woodbine April 11, then returned with a third-place effort at the same level while going one mile and seventy yards May 2. He had been working strongly for his first stakes try, including a bullet six-furlong breeze in 1:11 1/5 May 28.
Ontario-bred Big Red Mike improved his career log to 2-2-1 in five starts. He more than doubled his earnings to $161,101 with the winning purse of $87,057.
Under equal weights of 126 pounds, Big Red Mike went off as the third-longest shot on the board and paid $19.90, $10.90 and $6.70 while keying a $102 exacta. Stronach Stables' homebred Mobilizer, also making his stakes debut, returned $6 and $3 in his fourth race for trainer Roger Attfield. Mobthewarrior, a son of Mobil, was $4.70 to show.