Not Bourbon Wins Queen's Plate Thriller

Not Bourbon Wins Queen's Plate Thriller
Photo: Michael Burns
Not Bourbon wins the Queen's Plate, the opening leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, on June 22 at Woodbine.
Not Bourbon gave trainer Roger Attfield his record-tying eighth victory in Canada's prestigious Queen's Plate when he held off the fast closing filly Ginger Brew by a head in the $986,737 event on Woodbine's Polytrack surface June 22.

In the opening leg in the Canadian Triple Crown series, Solitaire finished third. Thus, the top three betting choices in the 14-horse field restricted to Canadian breds finished in the money in the 1 1/4-mile test for 3-year-olds. The final time was 2:03.59.

“I’m thrilled to death,” Attfield said. “This is what we were planning for all winter. They’re all special.”

The 68-year-old conditioner matched the mark Harry Gidding Jr. established in 1942 when Attfield was a 2-year-old living in England. Not Boubon's Plate victory was Attfield’s first since winning with Regal Discovery in 1995.

“It’s hard to win this race,” Attfield said. “Going into this winter I knew I had a horse that was capable of doing it. Some of my other horses, we were really running for some money. This is a very good horse.”

Ridden patiently by Jono Jones, Not Bourbon swept past the leaders at the top of the lane. Through the long home stretch they would not be denied, holding off Woodbine Oaks winner Ginger Brew in the final strides. It was the third straight stakes win for Charles Fipke's homebred colt, a son of Not Impossible who captured the Plate Trial in his last start on June 1.

Not Bourbon had a comfortable position rating in fourth on the outside as D. Flutie set a fairly uncontested pace through the early going while clicking off reasonable fractions of :23.40, :47.60 and 1:13.55. By the time they had completed the opening mile in 1:39.30 the complexion of the race changed, though, as the pacesetters tired and Not Bourbon, from four paths wide, grabbed the lead. Not Bourbon drew clear by 1 1/2 lengths mid-stretch before being challenged by Ginger Brew.

Frank Stronach's Ginger Brew, sent off as the 9-5 choice, was mid-pack for the first six furlongs under Javier Castellano but began to make an impression on the final turn. She was surging through the stretch run but could not quite catch the winner, who was drifting out some under steady handling past the eighth pole.

Second choice Solitaire, a maiden based at Saratoga for trainer James Bond, rallied for third, 4 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up with Robert Landry aboard. The 22-1 outsider Deputiformer kicked home well from the inside to finish a neck behind in fourth.

Not Bourbon improved to 5-2-1 in 10 lifetime starts and boosted his earnings to $951,080 with the winner's share of $589,920. The chestnut is out of Bourbon Belle, by Storm Boot. Prior to winning the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial, Not Bourbon had never raced farther than seven furlongs.

The second leg of Canada's series is the July 13 Prince of Wales stakes at 1 3/16 miles on dirt at Fort Erie. The final race is back at Woodbine on the turf at 1 1/2 miles, the Aug. 3 Breeders' Stakes.

The winner paid $11.30, $5.10 and $3.40, topping a $2 exacta worth $32.90 with Ginger Brew, who returned $3.80 and $3. Solitaire was $2.90 to show.

Deputiformer was followed home by Palmers, East End Tap, Mamma's Knight, Took the Time, Jungle Brew, Sebastian's Song, Shadowless, Silver Jag, D. Flutie and Dylan's Choice. Harvest Home scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)

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