Holy Helena wins the 2017 Queen's Plate

Holy Helena wins the 2017 Queen's Plate

Michael Burns

Queen's Plate Winner Holy Helena Aiming for Alabama

Daughter of Ghostzapper is coming offa win in first leg of Canadian Triple Crown.

Stronach Stable's homebred Queen's Plate winner Holy Helena has settled in at Jimmy Jerkens' Saratoga Race Course barn and is likely to make her Spa debut in the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) Aug. 19, her trainer said July 28.

Jerkens added that the Ontario-bred Ghostzapper  filly is expected to work in the coming days. On July 22, she breezed a half-mile in :50.33 on the Oklahoma training track, her first work since she beat males with a 3 1/2-length victory in the Queen's Plate  July 2 at Woodbine, the first leg of Canada's Triple Crown.

BALAN: Holy Helena Sails Clear in Queen's Plate

Unveiled as a 3-year-old this spring, Holy Helena broke her maiden at second asking May 12 over Belmont Park's main track and went on to register back-to-back stakes wins on Woodbine's all-weather course—the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser June 11 and the Queen's Plate at the Alabama's 1 1/4-mile distance. 

"She broke her maiden on the dirt and it wasn't a great field, but she acted like one that was making big leaps and bounds," Jerkens said of the filly's development. "She was improving really quickly and she took to that surface up there. That's for sure."

Jerkens added that multiple grade 1 winner Shaman Ghost will train up to the Sept. 2 Woodward Stakes (G1) on Saratoga's closing weekend. Also by Ghostzapper and owned by Stronach Stables, the 5-year-old bay horse got back to the worktab Saturday for the first time since he finished second to Keen Ice  as the 1-2 favorite in the July 8 Suburban Stakes (G2). He covered three furlongs in an easy :39. 

"(We breezed him) in case we were going to come back and work him this weekend for the Whitney, but we're not going to go there," Jerkens said. "He's still in training, but we'll back him up for another couple of weeks for the Woodward."

Graded stakes-placed Dolphus won't make a start at Saratoga this summer following a tendon injury suffered during training recently. The 4-year-old half brother to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra was nominated last week to the $100,000 Alydar Stakes Aug. 6.

"He's got a tendon problem, so he'll be out for a good while," Jerkens said. "He's going to go to Ocala in the next couple of days."