Favored Spice Route, making his first start in 2010, emerged from the pack in upper stretch and swept to an easy win in the $153,997 Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT) (VIDEO) on Queen's Plate day at Woodbine July 4.
Shortly after Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrived at her box for the Queen's Plate, the multiple graded stakes winner Spice Route delivered over the Woodbine turf course for trainer Roger Attfield. A top Canadian conditioner, Attfield later sent out favored Mobilizer to finish 10th in the Plate.
Mike Smith, in Toronto to ride Giant's Tomb in the Queen's Plate, picked up the mount on Spice Route. He kept the British-bred 6-year-old son of King's Bestwell in reserve, advancing the 3-2 favorite on the final turn on the outside. Spice Route engaged Solitaire for the lead briefly in the stretch and drew off from there to record a 3 3/4-length win in a final time of 2:26.74 for the 1 1/2-mile distance on a firm course.
Spice Route, according to Attfield, grabbed a quarter badly while training this winter at Gulfstream Park. He made his first start since a second-place finish in the W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) at Calder Casino and Racecourse Dec. 26. The chestnut gelding ended a six-race losing streak in the Singspiel.
The winner carried co-top weight of 122 pounds and paid $5.10, $3.10, and $2.60 while keying a $28.70 exacta.
Solitaire ($6.30, $3.80), ridden by Chantal Sutherland, had a perfect trip and was a clear second by 4 1/2 lengths over the show horse, Perfect Shower ($3.10).
Cool Gator and Grey Boundary vied on the early lead through soft fractions of :25.09, :50.01, and 1:14.54. Cool Gator managed to shake off Grey Boundary, but evenutually yielded to Perfect Shower and Solitaire. The latter angled out after a ground-saving trip into the final turn and took the lead from Perfect Shower. But he was no match for Spice Route, who rallied from eighth early to take a two-length lead mid-stretch. The winner continued to draw away while well in hand for Smith.
Spice Route, owned by Harlequin Ranches, Ralph L. Johnson, and Attfield, picked up a check of $84,717 for his sixth lifetime win in 26 starts, boosting his career earnings to $920,827. The victory was his first since taking the 12-furlong Fifth Third Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland in April 2009.
Usk Valley Stud bred the winner, who is out of Zanzibar (by In the Wings).
Genius Kinshasa finished fourth, followed by Cool Gator, Guipago, Zarroc, Forgotten Dynasty, and Grey Boundary.