(Edited press release)
Jiggs Coz and Marchfield, who finished first and second, respectively, in the June 3 Plate Trial, will meet for an exciting rematch in the June 24 Queen's Plate at Woodbine.
Representing Queen Elizabeth II for the 148th edition of the Plate, the oldest continuously-run stakes race in North America, will be Ontario Lt. Gov. James K. Bartleman.
Heading the nine-horse field as the morning line favorite is the Sid Attard-trained Jiggs Coz, who is looking for his fourth straight victory. Before the Plate Trial, he won the May 5 Queenston and the Display Stakes as a 2-year-old, both at Woodbine. Owned by Mel Lawson's Jim Dandy Stable, he has earned $292,516 from five career starts.
"He's coming up (to the race) very good," said Attard of Jiggs Coz, who will break from post six. "We did exactly the same training (schedule) up to the Plate as leading up to the Trial (working him four furlongs four days before the race). I'm not sure whether there will be more pace in the Plate (than the Trial)--we'll see. I'm not worried. If it's close, he's going to finish. You can do whatever you want with this horse. I don't think there will be any problem getting the distance."
The 84-year-old Lawson's last Plate starter was favored Let's Go Blue, who finished second to Key to the Moon, a half-length behind, in the contentious 1984 renewal of the race. Jiggs Coz will be ridden by David Clark, who won Queen's Plates in 1981 with Fiddle Dancer Boy and 1985 aboard La Lorgnette.
While Marchfield's resume isn't quite as impressive as that of Jiggs Coz, the colt, currently listed at odds of 3-1, has still turned in some impressive efforts. Finishing second as a juvenile in his stakes debut at Woodbine, the Coronation Futurity, he prevailed by a nose in a 1 1/16-mile maiden event in his last start. Owned by Eugene Melnyk's Melnyk Racing Stables, Marchfield is trained by Mark Casse.
"We need some pace (in the race)," said Casse. "He just goes and goes and goes. The distance won't be a problem for him, but he needs the pace to be softened up a bit for him to make his best run."
Eugene Melnyk co-owned 1998 Plate winner Archers Bay, while Patrick Husbands, who will pilot Marchfield in the Plate, was aboard Wando when he captured the 2003 edition en route to winning that year's Canadian Triple Crown.
The highest earner of the group, Leonnatus Anteas, has surprisingly only made four starts, three of which were stakes victories. The son of Stormy Atlantic won last year's Vandal, Cup and Saucer, and Coronation Futurity. An earner of $380,523, he was a runner up in his only start this year, a June 3 allowance contest at Woodbine.
Also worth a mention is Twilight Meteor, a stakes winner at Keeneland and Gulfstream Park. Todd Pletcher trains the talented Smart Strike colt, who has earned $180,745 for John Fort's Peachtree Stable.
Rounding out the field are stakes-placed Cobrador, Alezzandro, and Mike Fox, plus Include Us and Daaher.
The Queen's Plate is the first leg in the Canadian Triple Crown. The second leg is the July 15 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, while the Aug. 5 Breeders' Stakes at Woodbine comprises the third and final leg.
Queen's Plate, $1,000,000, Woodbine, June 24, 3-year-old Canadian-breds, 1 1/4 miles, approx. post time 4:37 p.m. ET
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey, Odds
1. Cobrador, 126, Emile Ramsammy, 20-1
2. Daaher, 126, Alan Garcia, 15-1
3. Include Us, 126, Robert Landry, 20-1
4. Alezzandro, 126, Todd Kabel, 15-1
5. Twilight Meteor, 126, John Velazquez, 4-1
6. Jiggs Coz, 126, David Clark, 9-5
7. Marchfield, 126, Patrick Husbands, 3-1
8. Leonnatus Anteas, 126, Jono Jones, 6-1
9. Mike Fox, 126, Emma-Jayne Wilson, 12-1