(compiled from Woodbine reports)
Milwaukee Appeal, impressive winner of the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser earlier this month, is the 3-1 morning line favorite for the $1 million Queen's Plate June 21 at Woodbine.
Thirteen Canadian-bred 3-year-olds are set for this year's 150th renewal of the Queen's Plate, the oldest continually running stakes in North America. Post time is 5:36 p.m. ET. The field for the Polytrack event includes two fillies -- Milwaukee Appeal and Oaks' runner-up Tasty Temptation -- who will each carry 121 pounds, five fewer than the rest.
C.E.C. Farms’ Milwaukee Appeal, trained by Scott Fairlie, will try to become the 34th filly to win the 10-furlong Plate following her 3 3/4-length win in the Oaks June 7. If the daughter of Milwaukee Brew succeeds, she’ll be the first filly since Dancethruthedawn in 2001 to capture both the Oaks and the Plate. Other fillies who won both were Flaming Page (1962), La Lorgnette (1985), and Dance Smartly (1991).
Last year, Stronach Stables’ Ginger Brew, also a daughter of Milwaukee Brew, won the Oaks in powerful fashion, then just missed taking the Plate when a head short of Not Bourbon .
Milwaukee Appeal is the field’s leading money earner with $649,538, almost half of which was generated in the $500,000 Oaks. It was the third stakes victory in a nine-race career that includes five wins.
Stewart Elliott, who rocketed to fame as the regular rider for 2004 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones , retains the mount on the Ontario-bred filly, who breaks from post 4.
“Well, the race is worth a million dollars,” said Fairlie during the post position draw. “That’s a big part (of why we’re going), but the main thing is we wanted to see how she came out of the Oaks.
“She’s just had some basic gallops since. It’s very possible (she’ll be up front), depending on the pace. She’s very easy to ride. She’s got tactical speed.”
Plate Trial winner Eye of the Leopard , owned by Sam-Son Farm, is second choice on the morning line at 7-2. He is a son of A.P. Indy out of Sam-Son’s champion filly Eye of the Sphynx, who won the 2004 Oaks and a Sovereign Award as Canada’s top 3-year-old filly.
Eye of the Leopard collared Southdale with an eye-catching move in the closing yards to win the Plate Trial in just his third career start.
“Hopefully, he’s learning pretty quickly now," trainer Mark Frostad said after selecting post 7 in the draw. "He’s training beautifully and couldn’t be in better order. So, we’re happy with him right now.”
Added co-owner Rick Balaz: "If he improves at all off the Plate Trial, we’ll be in great shape.”
Eurico Rosa da Silva has the mount in his first Plate appearance.
Sam-Son has won the Plate four times, with Regal Intention (1988), Dance Smartly, Scatter The Gold (2000), and Dancethruthedawn. Frostad has had three Plate wins with Victor Cooley (1996), Scatter The Gold, and Dancethruthedawn.
Trainer Mark Casse, consecutive three-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s top conditioner (2006-08), will send out an uncoupled pair for Woodford Racing in Active Duty and Tasty Temptation, who is the 4-1 early choice on the Plate line.
Tasty Temptation, a gray daughter of Medaglia d'Oro , was a hard-luck second in the Oaks, spotting the field several lengths at the start when she came out of the gate flat-footed. She rushed up to challenge the leaders around the far turn of the 1 1/8-mile event and poked a head in front of Milwaukee Appeal just as the pair came into the stretch. She faltered down the lane to finish second, however.
Patrick Husbands, who won the 2003 Queen’s Plate aboard champion Wando as part of a Canadian Triple Crown, will ride from post 11.
“I was disappointed (about the Oaks),” said Casse. “They broke, I looked, then I sat down. But she proved a lot that day. I was quite proud of her.
“(Post 11) will give Patrick an opportunity to place her wherever he wants. All she needs is a little luck. She’s been a hard-luck filly."
Casse said the two-week turnaround is a concern, adding, “But if anybody can do it, she can do it. She’s a big, strong filly. She’s happy as can be right now and I’m happy.”
Active Duty, a son of Deputy Commander who is listed at 20-1, finished fourth to Eye of the Leopard in the Plate Trial, 4 1/2 lengths behind. To be ridden by Corey Fraser, his only win came in the rich Coronation Futurity last year. Active Duty could become the first horse since Norcliffe in 1976 to win the Plate after taking the Coronation Futurity as a juvenile.
Dolantori Racing’s Rapid Release (8-1), third in the Plate Trial at odds of 30-1, attempts to give Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield and jockey Jono Jones back-to-back Plate wins. Last year, the duo combined to win with Not Bourbon, who became the first Plate Trial winner since Alydeed in 1992 to also win the Plate.
Attfield is seeking a record ninth Plate win. He’s currently tied with Harry Giddings Jr. In addition to Not Bourbon, Attfield’s previous winners are Norcliffe, Market Control (1987), With Approval (1989), Izvestia (1990), Alydeed (1992), Peteski (1993) and Regal Discovery (1995).
Windways Farm’s El Brujo (15-1), trained by Malcolm Pierce, will attempt to rebound from a disappointing Plate Trial when finishing ninth, almost eight lengths behind Eye of the Leopard, as the 8-5 favorite.
A Candy Ride gelding, El Brujo has banked $389,610 from four wins in nine starts, including stakes scores in the Achievement and Queenston this year. He’ll be ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, who became the first female jockey to win the Plate in 2007 aboard Mike Fox.
K.K. Sangara’s Shut It Down (20-1), trained by Lorne Richards, has won two of his eight starts, including a victory last year in the Frost King Stakes. The gelded son of Porto Foricos will be ridden by Vancouver-born Russell Baze, the world’s winningest rider, with over 10,550 victories.
Reservoir (20-1), trained by Julia Carey for owners Goldie Stables and Weila Ye, has won both of his starts to date. Should he win, he would join Awesome Again as the only horses in the Triple Crown era (since 1959) to win the Plate in just his third career start after not racing as a 2-year-old. The gelded son of Sky Classic will be handled once again by Jim McAleney, who has been aboard for both triumphs, a seven-furlong Polytrack maiden-breaker and a 1 1/8-mile turf allowance event.
Trainer Catherine Day Phillips will send out Mr. Foricos Two U (15-1), another gelding by Porto Foricos owned by Frank Annecchini and Rocco D’Alimonte. Day Phillips finished second in the 2004 Plate with favoured A Bit O’Gold, but won the Prince of Wales and Breeders’ Stakes with him. Jockey Mike Smith, who piloted Awesome Again to victory in the 1997 Plate, has been named to ride. He’ll be the fifth different jockey aboard Mr. Foricos Two U in his five career starts, the last two of which have been wins.
Molinaro Stable’s homebred Flip for the Coin (30-1), trained by Vito Armata, will try to spring an upset, just as T J’s Lucky Moon did for owner Gino Molinaro and Armata in 2002 when scoring at 82-1. Jockey Emile Ramsammy, who has twice won the Plate, with Victor Cooley and aboard Edenwold in 2006, has the mount.
Track West Racing’s Keino West (15-1), trained by Steve Attard, is a winner once in seven outings and most recently ran fifth in the Plate Trial. He will be ridden by Gerry Olguin.
Knob Hill Stable’s Bucephalus (30-1), winner of last year’s Clarendon Stakes and sixth in the Trial, will be ridden by Tyler Pizarro for trainer Kevin Attard.
UN Stable’s Stardust Ziggy (20-1), trained by Lorna Perkins, will be trying to become the first maiden since Scatter The Gold in 2000 to win the Plate. The gray son of Holy Bull, to be ridden by Jerry Baird, closed quickly to finish second in a nine-furlong maiden race May 31.
The Queen’s Plate is the first leg in the Canadian Triple Crown. The second leg is the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, at 1 3/16 miles July 12 at Fort Erie. The $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes, at 12 furlongs on the grass Aug. 2 at Woodbine, is the final leg. There have been seven Triple Crown winners since the concept was inaugurated in 1959, the last being Wando in 2003.
$1 Million Queen's Plate (Race 9, 5:36 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds Foaled in Canada, 1 1/4 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. El Brujo (ON), E Wilson, 126, M Pierce, 15/1
2. Flip for the Coin (ON), E Ramsammy, 126, V Armata, 30/1
3. Active Duty (ON), C Fraser, 126, M E Casse, 20/1
4. Milwaukee Appeal (ON) (f), S Elliott, 121, S H Fairlie, 3/1
5. Mr. Foricos Two U (ON), M E Smith, 126, C Day Phillips, 15/1
6. Reservoir (ON), J McAleney, 126, J Carey, 20/1
7. Eye of the Leopard (ON), E R Da Silva, 126, M R Frostad, 7/2
8. Rapid Release (ON), J C Jones, 126, R L Attfield, 8/1
9. Bucephalus (ON), T Pizarro, 126, K Attard, 30/1
10. Stardust Ziggy (ON), J Baird, 126, L M Perkins, 20/1
11. Tasty Temptation (ON) (f), P Husbands, 121, M E Casse. 41
12. Shut It Down (ON), R A Baze, 126, L Richards, 20/1
13. Keino West (ON), G Olguin, 126, S Attard, 15/1
Equipment Changes: 9 - Bucephalus - Blinkers On