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Robert Krembil leads Pipers Thunder and jockey Ray Sabourin to the winner's circle after the Plate Trial.
The $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes at Woodbine is one of the last major preps for the $1 million Queen's Plate, the first jewel in Canada's Triple Crown. Twenty-two Queen's Plate winners won the Plate Trial in their last start, but this has not happened since 1992. In this year's edition, a field of eight 3-year-olds faced the starter in this 1 1/8 mile event over the main track, with each entrant carrying the Plate weight of 126 pounds. As expected, last year's 2-year-old champion Edenwold was sent off as the even-money favorite, coming off a close second place finish in the Queenston Stakes last time out. The horse that beat him that day, Atlas Shrugs, went off as the 4-1 second choice. 9-2 third choice Pyramid Park, winner of the Cup and Saucer Stakes as a 2-year-old, comes into the Plate Trial of a 2-length victory in an allowance.
First time by with Edenwold, Pyarmid Park, and Thinking Out Loud leading the way
Pyramid Park went to the front right away under jockey Slade Callaghan and he set a pace of 23.72 and 47.36 with 8-1 shot Thinking Out Loud pressing him just to his inside and Edenwold just behind them in third. Rounding the far turn, Pyramid Park and Thinking Out Loud began to drop from contention, allowing the favorite Edenwold to take the lead, as 9-1 shot Pipers Thunder was just hitting his best stride. After stalking the pace in 4th down the backstretch, Pipers Thunder came out four-wide on the turn to join the battle
Pipers Thunder wins the Plate Trial
Pipers Thunder in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Ray Sabourin said, "It looked like he was going into the race great, just like Eric (trainer Coatrieux) said. He ran hard and got the money. Eric and I discussed (race strategy) but as per usual, the doors opened and everything unfolded a whole lot different than we thought. They were kind of walking a little bit. He wanted to roll a little bit. I wasn't going to fight him. He knew what he was doing."
The trophy presentation for the Plate Trial. Winning owner Robert Krembil of Chiefswood Stable (in the cowboy hat) said, "That's our objective, really, to win the classic distance races. He (Pipers Thunder) had some soft tissue issues (last year). So we just eased off on him and gave him time. It was touch and go whether he could get ready for this. It looks like he did. He has a little learning to do and he learned a lot today." Chiefswood Stable won the Queen's Plate in 2004 with Niigon.
Second place finisher Ascot Bill returns after the race. His jockey Justin Stein said, "I had about as good a trip as you can ask for turning for home. He scooted up the rail and once he got through he picked his head up. It gave him some confidence and he took off running. When he snuck through along the rail he really picked it up. He likes to be able to see the lead and take a run at them. But he doesn't want to run early, that goes against his nature. He's going to be a nice little horse. This is only his fourth start and there were some salty horses in there."
Third place finisher Edenwold heads out for the post parade before the race. His jockey Emile Ramsammy said, "I thought my horse ran well, but not as well as I expected. I thought he'd show a little more aggression. I was sitting right where I wanted to be, but he didn't finish up the way I wanted to. He ran well, but he just didn't punch home like I hoped. It was his second race of the year and hopefully, he'll go forward. He's a very talented horse and I'm looking forward to better things. Hopefully, he can be the best horse on the 25th of June."
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