Queen’s Plate Kicks Off Canadian Triple Crown
Overflow Field Set For Woodbine Feature
By Margaret Ransom
Saturday marks the 159th running of the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, the most prestigious race for sophomores contested north of the American/Canadian border and also the race with the longest consecutively run streak in North America.
Named for the sitting monarch in Britain (currently a Queen, it will revert to the King’s Plate when Prince Charles of Wales ascends the throne) the 1 ¼-mile test, which is conducted over Woodbine’s synthetic Tapeta surface, is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.
Though the Queen’s Plate has been held at different tracks throughout Canada, this classic for thoroughbreds bred in Canada has been held at Woodbine every year since 1955. Some of the more recognizable names to have won the Queen’s Plate are L’Enjoleur, Son of Briartic, Key to the Moon, With Approval, Izvestia, Dance Smartly, Alydeed, Peteski, Awesome Again, Wando, Wild Desert and Shaman Ghost.
Twelve horses are officially listed as winners of the Canadian Triple Crown after having taking the Queen’s Plate, then the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie in late July and then the Breeders’ Stakes over Woodbine’s turf. A total of 25 fillies have defeated their male counterparts in the Queen’s Plate, the most prominent being racing Hall of Famer Dance Smartly in 1991. As a broodmare, Dance Smartly produced two Queen’s Plate winners herself in 2000 and 2001 winners Scatter the Gold and Dancethruthedawn.
The filly Holy Helena won this race for Stronach Stables a year ago.
Perhaps the most famous winner of the Queen’s Plate is 1964 Kentucky Derby winner Northern Dancer. Dubbed “The Pride of Canada”, Northern Dancer not only won the Kentucky Derby and Queen’s Plate, he also won the Preakness Stakes and remains one of the most influential sires in history and his blood is found prominently in all popular sire lines to this day.
Sunday’s weather in the Toronto/Etobicoke area calls for clear skies and highs in the mid-80s. Because the main track is a synthetic surface, wet weather won’t have a significant effect on the conditions of the main track throughout the day.
This year, 16 were entered for Canada’s… (more)