Ravens' DQ Gives Three in the Bag Plate Trial

(from Woodbine report)
Castletop Stable's Three in the Bag was awarded victory in Sunday's $164,300 Plate Trial Stakes for 3-year-olds at Woodbine after the apparent winner, Dance with Ravens, was disqualified.

It was the first time in 107 editions that a disqualification determined the outcome of the major prep race for the Queen's Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. This year' Queen's Plate is June 26.

In what turned into a battle royale from mid-stretch to the wire, Sam-Son Farm's Dance with Ravens and Three in the Bag fought it out, with the former hanging on for an unofficial neck win in the 1 1/8-mile contest, which was timed in 1:52.52. Get Down, who went to the post as the 7-5 choice, finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind.

However, shortly after the finish, Ontario Racing Commission Stewards posted the inquiry sign and, after reviewing the start of the race, decided to disqualify Dance with Ravens for coming out and interfering with sixth-place finisher Atanas, who had stumbled as a result of the incident.

"About 20 yards out of the gate, Todd Kabel's horse (Dance with Ravens) drifted out on Atanas. Rui Pimentel's horse (Atanas) caught his heels and nearly went down," said Richard Grubb, Ontario Racing Commission steward. "We had to disqualify him. He came right in front of his path. When the horse hits heels then you're in jeopardy of going down. That's more severe."

Out From Africa went to the front, dogged by Get Down, with Dance with Ravens in a stalking third position. Meanwhile, Three in the Bag, a son of Silver Deputy, was languishing at the back of the pack, a reversal of his earlier form when he had contested the lead in virtually every start.

Going around the far turn, after the six furlongs was reached in 1:14.53, Kabel swooped to the front with Dance with Ravens, and opened a couple of lengths on the field turning for home. Jockey Robert Landry had Three in the Bag moving well on the outside and stormed up four-wide to challenge. Three in the Bag inched closer to the Dance with Ravens at the sixteenth pole, but could not get by, as the pair flashed under the wire.

"We were real happy with the way he (Three in the Bag) ran," said veteran New York conditioner Stanley Hough. "He settled. We wanted to take him back today and try that. We were hoping for a lively pace and that didn't come about. We were a little questionable about his distance, and we think the way he ran today gives us some encouragement.

"He'll stay here (at Woodbine). He doesn't need a lot (of work). He'll probably work once in between (now and the Plate); maybe a strong gallop or two."

Three in the Bag, who was a $15,000 supplemental nomination to the Plate on May 15, had come into the Plate Trial with just a maiden win in six starts and was making his stakes debut. However, in his last outing at Belmont Park, May 8, he finished a good second to Reverberate, who then finished second to the well-regarded Oratory in the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) last month.

Even though he was taken down by the stewards for interference shortly after the start, Dance with Ravens, who went off the second choice at 5-2, may still have solidified his favorite status for the Queen's Plate after his gutsy performance. The impeccably-bred son of A.P. Indy out of Sam-Son's champion mare Dance Smartly, was well positioned throughout in third, took over turning for home then outbattled Three in the Bag, who had taken the overland route, to the wire.

"My horse just sort of scrambled a little bit," said Slade Callaghan, about favored Get Down. "I don't think he liked the track much today. I don't want to make excuses but that's how it felt to me."

Three in the Bag picked up a purse of $98,100 for the win, returning $8.10, $3.40 and $3.20. He combined with Get Down ($3.70, $3.10) for a $25.60 exacta. Out From Africa ($3.80) completed a trifecta pa $93.70.

(Chart, Equibase)