Plate Trial winner Not Bourbon heads a field of 15 in the Queen's Plate.

Plate Trial winner Not Bourbon heads a field of 15 in the Queen's Plate.

Michael Burns

Not Bourbon Tops Queen's Plate Field

The Plate Trial winner should go to post as the favorite in the June 22 at Woodbine

Plate Trial winner Not Bourbon heads a field of 15 Canadian-bred 3-year-olds looking for a victory in the prestigious $1-million Queen’s Plate, the oldest continuously run stakes in North America. The 149th Queen’s Plate, a 1 1/4-mile event on the Woodbine Polytrack, will be race 9 and is set to go to post at 5:06 p.m. EDT June 22.

Among Not Bourbon’s main competition is Solitaire, a maiden who will making just his third start but was runner-up by a neck in the Plate Trial, and Woodbine Oaks winner Ginger Brew, a dazzling daughter of Milwaukee Brew  looking to become the first filly to capture the Queen’s Plate since 2001. Deputiformer, who took the Cup and Saucer as a 2-year-old, is the only other entrant with a stakes victory.

A chestnut son of Not Impossible, Not Bourbon has won two straight including the June 1 Plate Trial, which was his first test at two turns. Under Jono Jones, Not Bourbn stalked the early pace, took over coming out of the final turn, and then held off a late charge from Solitaire under a drive. One month prior he took the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes by five lengths.

Overall, Not Bourbon has produced a 4-2-1 record from nine starts for owner-breeder Charles Fipke.

“I was happy with his Trial. He carried the weight. He did it well,” said Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, who is seeking his record-tying eighth Queen’s Plate win. “He had to probably move a bit earlier than we needed to because we did think that grey horse (Harlem Rocker) might be coming at that point in time. I think you probably saw a little misleading finish to that race. Also, Jono had thought he’d won it. He had turned his stick up to give it a wave of glory when he saw that one right by his knee.”

“If he settles and runs his race. He’ll be very competitive. No question. He’s got a high cruising speed, when he shows it. He’s got a devastating kick.”

Not Bourbon turned in a pair of blistering works during the last eight days. One of them was a five-furlong breeze in :59.40 on June 11. Some say it may have been too fast.

“Good horses do that,” Attfield countered. “If you look back and see how Izvestia and those horses worked, on the Tuesday or the Wednesday of the week, they did the same thing. I would be very concerned if he’d gone in 1:02.”

Not Bourbon, who is out of the Storm Boot mare Bourbon Belle, is trying to become the first Plate Trial winner to take the Queen’s Plate since Alydeed did it in 1992. Jones will get the mount again and break from post 13.

If William Clifton Jr.’s Solitaire should 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 and first maiden to take the event since 2000. Prior to the Plate Trial Solitaire was third in his racing debut, which came in maiden company on the turf at Gulfstream Park April 14. A $250,000 purchase at the Keeneland 2006 September yearling sale, Solitaire is a gelded son of Victory Gallop. He is trained by H. James Bond and Robert Landry will get the return mount.

Frank Stronach’s homebred Ginger Brew has been fantastic in her last three starts, winning all of them by a combined 11 1/4 lengths. Two of those scores came on turf in Florida, including the April 26 Calder Oaks in which she kicked clear down the stretch under Javier Castellano win by more than a length. In her six-length romp during the Woodbine Oaks, Ginger Brew came from off the pace, moved into contention around the final turn and left the field in the dust as the odds-one choice. Castellano will ride once more for trainer Brian Lynch.

Ginger Brew will carry 121 pounds, five less than the other 14 entrants.

Stronach and Lynch will also send out Jungle Brew, another son of Milwaukee Brew. Jungle Brew has been runner-up in both lifetime starts, each of them coming in maiden special weight company.

Leading trainer Mark Casse will saddle a pair of entrants, Palmers and Took the Time. Both of them finished second in allowance competition in their last start.

$1,000,000 Queen's Plate (Race 9, 5:06 p.m.), Three-Year-Olds, 1 1/4 Miles (Polytrack)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. D. Flutie (ON), 126, Emile Ramsammy
2. Dylan's Choice (ON), 126, Chantal Sutherland
3. East End Tap (ON), 126, Tyler Pizarro
4. Harvest Home (ON), 126, Corey Fraser
5. Deputiformer (ON), 126, Jerry Baird
6. Silver Jag (ON), 126, Slade Callaghan
7. Palmers (ON), 126, Patrick Husbands
8. Mamma's Knight (ON), 126, Justin Stein
9. Shadowless (ON), 126, Emma-Jayne Wilson
10. Ginger Brew (ON), 121, Javier Castellano
11. Jungle Brew (ON), 126, Eibar Coa
12. Solitaire (ON), 126, Robert C. Landry
13. Not Bourbon (ON), 126, Jono C. Jones
14. Sebastian's Song (ON),  126, David Clark
15. Took the Time (ON), 126, Ramon A. Dominguez