The Queen's Plate is the first jewel in Canadian horse racing's Triple Crown, and the 2013 edition will be the 154th annual running of the event in Toronto, Ontario's Woodbine Racetrack.
Twelve horses will vie for the winner's circle on Sunday, and Up With the Birds opens as the 2-to-1 favorite from Thursday's morning line. Much like the U.S. first leg of the Triple Crown, fashion and extravagance will be on display as part of the spectacle.
As with that renowned race at Churchill Downs, too, this track covers 10 furlongs and involves three-year-old competitors.
Let's take a look at when the action gets underway, where to catch it and break down the entire field with predictions for win, place and show.
When: Sunday, July 7—post time is 4:30 p.m. ET
Where: Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Purse: $1 million
Live Stream: CBC.ca
Post Positions and Complete Field
Spring in the Air
|County Lineman || |
|Justin Stein ||20-1|
|7||Up With the Birds ||Malcolm Pierce ||Eurico Rosa Da Silva ||2-1|
|8||Rackman||Nick Nosowenko ||Jim McAleney ||50-1|
|9||Nipissing||Rachel Halden ||Steve Bahen ||7-2|
|10||Pyrite Mountain ||Mark Frostad ||Luis Contreras ||6-1|
|11||His Race to Win ||Malcolm Pierce ||John Velazquez ||10-1 |
|12||River Seven ||Nick Gonzalez ||Todd Kabel ||20-1 |
Note: Post positions and morning-line odds are courtesy of CBC Sports' Malcolm Kelly. Statistics and race history were obtained from Equibase.com, unless otherwise indicated. Queen's Plate background information was found at WoodbineEntertainment.com.
Win: Dynamic Sky
Considering the monopoly trainer Mark Casse essentially has on the field with four of 12 entries, it wouldn't be a bad bet to go with his most coveted horse in Dynamic Sky.
The year's most prolific jockey has been Joel Rosario, and he also won the Kentucky Derby aboard Orb back in May. Dynamic Sky also won the Queen's Plate Trial Stakes on June 9.
Rosario knows how to execute the 10-furlong pace brilliantly, as evidenced by his triumph at Churchill Downs, and he has 187 wins in 2013 and the most earnings amongst his peers, per Equibase.com.
Even though Eurico Rosa Da Silva is riding the pre-race favorite and has won the Queen's Plate twice before in 2009 and 2010, I like Rosario to emerge with yet another marquee victory.
Plus, Dynamic Sky's work this past week in five furlongs was very comparable to that of Up With the Birds, as documented by the Daily Racing Form's Ron Gierkink:
It should be a tight finish, but Casse will thankfully come out on the winning end after such a heavy investment in North America's oldest stakes race.
Place: His Race to Win
Placing the perceptibly pretentious name aside, this horse has all the makings of living up to the hype with John Velazquez getting the mount.
Malcolm Kelly of CBC Sports reports that His Race to Win was in position to win the Queen's Plate qualifier this year before being edged out at the finish by Dynamic Sky. It will be yet another epic battle between the two, and the jockey matchup of Rosario and Velazquez is tantalizing, too.
Trainer Malcolm Pierce also has Up With the Birds under his command, but this colt is the best among those projected by oddsmakers to finish outside of the money.
The only other race this horse ran at Woodbine resulted in a win on May 12:
If a talent like Velazquez feels the need to ride His Race to Win, there is little doubt that he should be in contention coming down the final stretch.
Show: Up With the Birds
Another great point raised by Kelly is that the morning-line favorite has only won this race two out of the past 18 years, which doesn't exactly bode well for Pierce, Da Silva and Co.
In spite of that, Marcus Hersh of The Daily Racing Form rightly feels confident in Up With the Birds:
It's been a fruitful three-year-old campaign for Up With the Birds thus far. He's won the Black Gold Stakes and most recently the Marine Stakes at Woodbine, and sandwiched between that was a second-place effort at the Grade III Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland (h/t Equibase.com).
BloodHorse.com's staff notes that last year's champion, Strait of Dover, won the Marine Stakes before crossing the finish first at Canada's most famous horse racing showcase.
Having said that, being labeled the initial favorite has dashed the hopes of many promising contenders for nearly two decades. Up With the Birds tends to break late and make a big charge, but it won't be quite enough for Da Silva to beat out the savvy Rosario and Velazquez.