Inglorious became the first filly to win the $1 million Queen's Plate since 2001 with a spectacular performance for jockey Luis Contreras, sweeping past her rivals impressively for a 2 1/2-length victory June 26 (VIDEO) .
The Woodbine Oaks-winning daughter of Hennessy became the 34th filly to win Canada's most famous race in 152 renewals. Trainer Josie Carroll earned her second win in the event after becoming the first female conditioner to win the Queen's Plate in 2006 with Edenwold.
Inglorious, sent off at odds of 9-2, was the lone filly among 17 Canadian-bred 3-year-olds that started. It was the biggest field in the Queen's Plate since 1999. Inglorious provided the first Queen's Plate win for owner Donna and Vern Dubinsky's Donver Stable as well as for Contreras. Woodbine's leading rider this year was making his debut in the race.
“This is great, she’s amazing. Everything is just amazing,” said the 25-year-old Contreras. “She gave me everything. That’s the main thing about her, she likes to win.”
Arosa Farms bred Inglorious, an $83,556 Canadian yearling sale purchase, in Ontario. The bay filly is out of the Smart Strike mare Noble Strike.
Held well off the pace by Contreras, Inglorious bid four wide on the final turn and was perfectly placed on the outside by Contreras for the stretch drive. Inglorious had a clear shot at the leaders coming down the lane and she took full advantage, blowing past the leaders leaving the furlong pole. She took the lead past the sixteenth pole and drew away with each stride while completing the 1 1/4-mile distance in a strong 2:02.63 over the Polytrack.
Hippolytus, sent off at 61-1, finished a clear second by two lengths after getting the lead at the quarter pole with Tyler Pizarro aboard. Pender Harbour, ridden by Chantal Sutherland, nosed Bowman's Causeway for third.
Check Your Soul, the 9-5 favorite attempting to give trainer Roger Attfield a record ninth Queen's Plate triumph, rallied on the final turn for jockey Patrick Husbands. He was second behind Hippolytus at the top of the stretch but tired and finished seventh.
The Queen's Plate is the opening jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, to be followed by the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on dirt July 17 and the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes back at Woodbine on grass Aug. 7.
Carroll was noncommittal on whether Inglorious would return in the Prince of Wales.
The trainer gave Contreras full credit for the victory. "I thought he showed wonderful judgement," she told TVG. "He had her in the right position.
"The strategy was to have her in position to get her a clean trip," Carroll added. "I must admit, I was pretty shocked with the kick she came home with."
Inglorious began the year campaigning at Fair Grounds and was being pointed for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) by Carroll. But following a fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) March 26, the trainer shifted directions, bringing Inglorious back home to Woodbine for a spring campaign.
Carroll said he was satisfied with how Inglorious ran in New Orleans, but said the filly "stung her feet a little bit in the Fair Grounds Oaks."
The filly won the La Lorgnette Stakes May 11 as a prep for the Woodbine Oaks, which she won with a late burst by three-quarters of a length over Spooky Kitten June 5. Inglorious is now five-for-five on Woodbine's Polytrack.
Inglorious became the fifth filly to complete the Woodbine Oaks/Queen's Plate double. She joins Flaming Page (1962), La Lorgnette (1985), Dance Smartly (1991), and Dancethruthedawn (2001), who was the most recent filly to win the Queen's Plate.
The filly has never raced in anything but a stakes in her seven starts, winning five times with one second. She came into the Queen's Plate as the biggest earner in the field and has now banked $1,250,000.
Oh Canada, Curgone and Okiyama formed the early leading group in the Queen's Plate, with Oh Canada and Curgone vying for the front after setting solid fractions of :23.86, :47.66 and 1:12.35 for the distance. Inglorious followed Check Your Soul into striking position on the final turn and blew past the favorite in the stretch.
“It feels overwhelming,” said Carroll. “I thought we had a shot when he (Contreras) got on (favourite) Check Your Soul’s back, then half way down the lane I thought we had a big shot. I was nervous but confident that she would run her race. If she was good enough, she would win.”
“It’s amazing, isn’t it? I’m thrilled to death, I still can’t believe it,” added Vern Dubinsky.
Hippolytus, stalking in fourth for most of the journey, took over when the early leaders gave in and opened up a bit while leading past the eighth pole. He held on well for second. Pender's Harbour broke poorly but rallied on the final turn and finished willingly to pip the stalking Bowman's Causeway for third.
Second choice Queen'splatekitten finished a neck back in fifth. He was followed by Seawatch, Check Your Soul, Head Honcho, Enduring Star, Curgone, Ojibway Signal, Imhotep, Oh Canada, Strike Oil, One Big Gator, Maple Leaf Kitten, and Okiyama.
Inglorious received a five-pound weight allowance, carrying 121, and paid $11, $6.40 and $4.70 as the third choice. Hippolytus, who added blinkers for trainer Mark Casse following a distant fourth-place finish in the Plate Trial June 5, returned $41.30 and $22.20 and completed a $415.20 exacta. The show price on Pender Harbour was $8.70 and rounded out a $5,554.50 trifecta. The $1 superfecta with Boman's Causeway fourth was worth $22,375.35.
The betting handle on the Queen’s Plate card was $8,768,145, an all-sources Woodbine record (except for Breeders’ Cup 1996). The Plate race itself drew $2,973,265, also a single race Woodbine record (except for the individual Breeders’ Cup races in 1996).