The American Triple Crown season has come and gone, but the Canadian version is just set to get underway. The first jewel is the Queen's Plate from Woodbine Racetrack from Toronto, Ontario. This marks the 155th running of the race.
Per the event's website, here are the pertinent details for the race.
|When:||Sunday July 6, 2014|
|Horse Type:||Three-Year-Olds foaled in Canada|
|Woodbine Post Time:||12 p.m. ET|
|Queen's Plate Post Time:||Approximately 5:38 p.m. ET|
|Distance:||One mile and two furlongs (1 1/4 mile)|
|Location:||Woodbine Racetrack, Toronto, ON Canada|
|Winner to receive:||$600,000|
|Television:||4:30 p.m. ET on TSN|
The field is 15 horses deep. Per the odds shown in this tweet from host/commentator Jeff Bratt, We Miss Artie is the favorite to come out on top:
Here's a table with more information about the horses, their jockeys and trainers:
|Post Positions and Odds|
|1||Cap in Hand||Steven Bahen||Sid Attard||50/1|
|2||Coltimus Prime||Jesse Campbell||Justin Nixon||20/1|
|3||Athenian Guard||Omar Moreno||Mike DePaulo||50/1|
|4||Asserting Bear||Chantal Sutherland-Kruse||Reade Baker||10/1|
|5||Man o’ Bear||Emma-Jayne Wilson||Reade Baker||30/1|
|6||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||8/5|
|7||Majestic Sunset||Gary Boulanger||Mark Casse||15/1|
|8||Lions Bay||David Moran||Jamie Attard||30/1|
|9||Heart To Heart||Eurico Rosa da Silva||Brian A. Lynch||30/1|
|10||Matador||Julien Leparoux||Mark Casse||8/1|
|11||One Destiny||Justin Stein||Alec Fehr||30/1|
|12||Tower of Texas||John Velazquez||Roger Attfield||20/1|
|13||Niigon Express||Gerry Olguin||Paul Attard||30/1|
|14||Lexie Lou||Patrick Husbands||Mark Casse||4/1|
|15||Ami’s Holiday||Luis Contreras||Josie Carroll||10/1|
|Per Down the Stretch They Come|
We Miss Artie has the shorter odds, but not everyone is on his bandwagon. Longshots Racing tweeted this on Friday:
Despite what the naysayers are saying about the favorite, his recent resume clearly makes him a formidable presence. World-renowned jockey Javier Castellano, who rode We Miss Artie to victory in the Trial Stakes, will be in the saddle again Sunday.
He won by three-quarters of a length in the Trial Stakes, which was also run at Woodbine. Because of the horse's natural talent, leadership and accomplishment from his jockey, he deserves to be the favorite.
Still, bettors might have their doubts. If not We Miss Artie, then which other horses are prime contenders?
At 4-1 odds, Lexie Lou is the next-best pick according to the numbers. The winner of the Woodbine Oaks has obviously had recent success on the track, but can she knock off We Miss Artie?
The field at the Woodbine Oaks was a strong one, so Lexie Lou has clearly proved he can succeed against an elite group of horses.
Over the last 14 months, Lexie Lou has won three races in total. If she can come up with another win on Sunday, she could become the best three-year-old north of the border.
Matador's initial starting position might not seem favorable, but trainer Mark Casse believes the 10th post position has its advantages.
Per Horse Racing Nation, he said: "He’s a little slow to begin. If he was down inside, I’m afraid he might eat a little too much Poly. So this way, we have a great rider in Julien Leparoux. He can see how he’s running early and pick a position.”
That sounds great in theory, but the horse could begin too slowly. If Matador falls too far behind early, even the expert guidance of Leparoux may not be enough.
Heart to Heart
Though not the most handsome or amazingly talented horse in the field, Heart to Heart has seemingly been groomed to win the Queen's Plate.
Per his trainer, Brian Lynch, according to Woodbine Entertainment: "He's an unassuming guy." He's not this big, imposing horse. In the barn, you don't even know he's there. But, we've fine-tuned him heading into this race and we've come to know a lot more about him."
Knowing the horse could be key to a surprising win. Perhaps it has clued the team in on details that make Heart to Heart an even bigger threat than most realize.
He does have two wins in the last 14 months, but his last outing was a disappointing sixth-place finish at the Marine. That performance is the biggest reason Heart to Heart hasn't connected with oddsmakers.
Still, if Lynch and Co.'s plan works to perfection, believing in Heart to Heart could pay off big.