Giquere Can Make Case for Queen's Plate

Giquere, among the top four Winterbook candidates for Canada's Queen's Plate later this spring, attempts to get his first win of the 2008 campaign in the $150,000 Marine Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine May 17.

Trained by Michael De Paulo for owner Mario Forgione, Giquere is one of two Marine entrants with aspirations for the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate on June 22, joining 2007 Coronation Futurity winner Kesagami. The Marine, at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack, drew a field of seven 3-year-olds bred in the U.S. and Canada.

A Mutakddim colt bred in Ontario by Black Canyon Thoroughbreds, Giquere is 10-1 in the Winterbook. He is coming off a second-place finish behind Marine rival Bonanza in the inaugural running of the 1 1/16-mile Wando Stakes April 25. After successfully fighting off pacemaker Niagara Thunder to gain the lead in the Woodbine stretch run, Giquere had little left to fend off the charging Bonanza and wound up 3 1/4 lengths behind.

After starting the year training at Palm Meadows in Florida, Giquere began the season with a fourth-place allowance finish at Gulfstream in March. The chestnut won his only other start, defeating his maiden rivals in his debut at Woodbine last December by 5 1/2 lengths. Emma-Jayne Wilson rides Giquere for the first time in the Marine.

After back-to-back wins last fall for trainer Sid Attard, including the Coronation Futurity in early November, Jim Dandy Stable's Kesagami disappointed in his 2008 bow. The Carson City colt trailed throughout after a poor break to finish more than 27 lengths behind the victorious Not Bourbon in the seven-furlong Queenston at Woodbine May 3.

Kesagami won the nine-furlong Coronation Futurity in front-running fashion Nov. 4 by 1 1/4 lengths under Patrick Husbands, who is listed on both Miner's Claim and Bonanza in the Marine. Jim McAleney has the return ride on Kesagami, who has won two of five starts and earned $203,843. Kesagami defeated early Queen's Plate favorite Cool Gator in the Coronation Futurity.

Miner's Claim, winless in two starts in Kentucky this season, trounced maidens and allowance rivals at Woodbine last year. After a game runner-up finish in Turfway Park's Rushaway Stakes on March 22, the Kentucky-bred son of Mineshaft   finished sixth in last month's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).

Trainer Mark Casse believes Miner's Claim put forth a stronger effort than indicated by the result.

"I really think, in my heart, that he should have won the Blue Grass," said the Sovereign Award-winning trainer. "Four jumps out of the gate, our horse stumbled badly and then went another three or four strides and stumbled again. Patrick thought he had hurt himself. In a couple of strides, the horse felt great and he went on."

The poor start ruined Miner's Claim's chances, Casse said. Afterward, he realized the colt, up against a pedestrian pace, had also raced with a bent shoe.

"Turning for home, he was only about two lengths off the lead. It took its toll and he flattened out late," said Casse of the performance. "He only pulled one nail out, but it bent so it was separated from his foot by about an inch. He ran the entire race with a bent shoe."

Will Farish's Bonanza, a dark bay son of Jump Start   also trained by Casse, rallied impressively to take the Wando. Bonanaza has three wins and two thirds from seven lifetime starts. The Wando was his first stakes score.

$150,000 Marine Stakes (Can-III, Race 6, 3:35 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Mighty Vow (MD), 115, Eurico Rosa Da Silva
2. Discreet Commander (KY), 119, Constant Montpellier
3. Bonanza (KY), 115, Patrick Husbands
4. Kesagami (ON), 119, James McAleney
5. Miner's Claim (KY), 115, Patrick Husbands
6. Matt's Broken Vow (KY), 115, Emile Ramsammy
7. Giquere (ON), 115, Emma-Jayne Wilson

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