Leading Queen's Plate contender Jiggs Coz vies for his third straight stakes win in Sunday's $150,000 Plate Trial for 3-year-olds at Woodbine.
The son of Cozzene enters the 1 1/8-mile event for Canadian breds, which is a key prep for the $1 million Queen's Plate on June 24, off a brilliant win in the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes.
The Sid Attard trainee settled in seventh, just two lengths off the pace before commencing a strong rally at the three-eighths pole. The classy gray drew off by 3 1/4 lengths for his third win in four career starts.
Assistant trainer Chris Simpson summed up the effort, his first as a 3-year-old, with one exclamation.
"Wow," he said. "We expected a big race out of him. We didn't expect that -- for him to draw off on the field in a canter. He won in a gallop."
Simpson said the Ontario-bred came out of the race in strong shape, physically and mentally.
"He's awesome. He probably came out of it better than he went into it. He's become a little more aggressive. He's acting coltish. He's charging the screen and trying to bite people. He's very high on himself," he explained.
The Brampton resident said Jiggs Coz has raised the energy in the barn to a level that it has recently only experienced with two other equines -- Labatt Woodbine Oaks winner Ginger Gold and Atto Mile (Can-I) victor Numerous Times.
To maintain his status at Queen's Plate favorite, Jiggs Coz has to win one more race -- Sunday's Plate Trial.
Simpson said the two-turn journey is the least of their concerns, especially considering he won the 1 1/16-mile Display Stakes in his final start as a 2-year-old.
"Distance we don't think will be a problem. I think now, with the blinkers off, he probably will be better around two turns. He'll be able to relax more."
Tactically, Simpson said Jiggs Coz and jockey David Clark should be able to work out an advantageous trip.
"If there's a little bit of speed in the race, he'll be able to sit just off of it," said Simpson. "He doesn't need to be on the lead. He showed that going seven eighths (in the Queenston). The way he won the last race, it was so professional that it doesn't really matter how the race sets up, he's going to make a run no matter what."
$150,000 Plate Trial Stakes (Race 8, 4:32 p.m.), 3-Year-olds Bred in Canada, 1 1/8 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Cobrador (ON), Emile Ramsammy
2. Dancer's Bajan (ON), Corey Fraser
3. Marchfield (ON), Patrick Husbands
4. Markdale (ON), Todd Kabel
5. Golani (ON), Eurico Rosa Da Silva
6. Jiggs Coz (ON), David Clark
7. It's a Danzig (ON), Emma-Jayne Wilson
8. Alezzandro (ON), Jono C. Jones
9. Include Us (MB), Robert C. Landry
Each assigned 126 pounds.