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Queen's Plate Barbecue

queen's plate canada horse racing
The Queen's Plate trophy was on display in the walking ring

Date: 6/18/11

At Woodbine, Queen's Plate week is traditionally kicked off by the annual barbecue. Held on the Monday before the Plate, media, officials, connections, and their families usually gather in the large walking ring to enjoy a delicious outdoor lunch, mostly cooked over open grills, while several Queen's Plate contenders are paraded in the walking ring. This is a great opportunity to see the horses posing with their proud connections, and unlike most events, it is a rare opportunity for the horses' grooms to receive recognition as well when the horse is brought out. Conditions were ideal for this very popular event for the local racing community, with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70's.

The post position draw for the 153rd running of the Queen's Plate will be held at a breakfast event on Thursday morning and a field of 15 is expected. Post time for the Plate will be 5:36pm ET on Sunday June 24th, the 10th race on the card. The race will be televised in Canada on CBC in high definition from 4:30 - 6:00pm ET and simulcast to many locations across North America. In additiona, the full card will be available on TVG in the USA and HPI in Canada. Free past performances will be available from BRISnet late on Thursday and full profiles for each horse are available from Woodbine.

At this year's Queen's Plate Barbecue, 7 of the expected 15 starters were brought out to be paraded in the walking ring. Below are photos of the ones that were there along with a list of all the horses expected to enter.

horse racinghorse racingColleen's Sailor was brought out by groom Tova McKane for trainer Roger Attfield. The son of Northern Afleet comes to the Plate off an allowance win on May 27 going 1 1/8 miles at Woodbine, after finishing 5th in both his stakes appearances as a juvenile. Attfield, lookinng to set a record with 9 Plate wins, said, “He ran twice as a two-year-old going two turns which really helps going into a three year old year. Brian Lynch has the horse at that time and treated him the right way and he arrived a nice, sound horse. I think he’s a horse that has improved as he ages and I’m pleased with him right now. It’s a different situation than most of the other ones I’ve been involved with. I’ve always had the other ones from when they were two-years-old. This horse, I inherited it in March of his three-year-old year as an ‘A other than’. It’s a different situation.” Jockey Corey Nakatani gets the call on Sunday for owners Sal and Colleen Simeone (Terra di Sienna Stables) of Long Island, New York.

horse racinghorse racingWilcox was next, led in by groom Adalberto Espinosa for trainer Josie Carroll. The son of Giant's Causeway will be making just his third lifetime start in the Plate for owner Eugene Melnyk, off his maiden win over 1 1/16 miles on turf on May 26. Carroll said, “I didn’t get the horse until I got to the Fair Grounds. We were getting him ready. We actually had him in for a race on the turf, but it rained and the race came off (the turf). I didn’t want to run him on the dirt at that point. The rider (Justin Stein) said he had a tough time pulling him up after (the maiden win). He’ll run as far as they write them. After that race, I thought this horse was going to be our Breeders’ Stakes horse. Because I know he’ll go the distance, I said to the connections, ‘I’d be remiss if we didn’t get a good breeze into the horse on the Polytrack, just to see if he’s moving forward off that last race.’ So I breezed him on Wednesday (June 13), after which he grabbed the bridle and wanted to go on.”

horse racinghorse racingDixie Strike was the Winterbook favorite for the Plate but was a disappointing 5th in the Woodbine Oaks last out. The daughter of Dixie Union was brought out by groom Wesley Stirling. Trainer Mark Casse said. “I think there were a few reasons for Dixie Strike’s performance. One, she ran such a big race three weeks prior, an all time best. So she was supposed to regress in the Oaks. That being said, I thought she would still be very tough to beat. The other thing is we had a little bit of a problem with her about a week out. She had a tooth abscess. She was a little under the weather for a day or two and didn’t eat quite as good as she usually does. But we got her over that. She trained up the race the last four or five days very well. Still, you just have to wonder that maybe it did affect her a bit. We’re going to put blinkers on her (for the Plate).” Regular rider Patrick Husbands gets the call on Sunday for owner John Oxley.

horse racinghorse racingGolden Ridge is the second of three Casse-trained horses to come out into the ring, led by groom Ivan Forde. The son of Distorted Humor broke his maiden May 13 at Woodbine after just missing April 14 at Keeneland. Casse said, “This horse is the whole package. He’s one of the best-bred horses in the race. I don’t think there’s any question this horse won’t have a problem going a mile and a quarter. I only got him in December at Palm Meadows. Looking at him, he was very immature, so I could see why (he didn’t make the races at two). I was impressed with his maiden win because he got in a little traffic down the backside. I was a little concerned. But when Luis asked him to go, he took off. I think that experience of being in traffic is really going to help him in the Queen’s Plate." Regular jockey Luis Contreras will be in the irons again for the Plate for owner Eugene Melnyk.

horse racinghorse racingMaking Amends is the third Casse entrant in the Plate, brought out by groom Prince Parris. The son of Repent was a disappointing 6th in the Plate Trial after just missing in the Queenston. Casse said, “His last start was his first time going a route of ground (on Poly). I was looking for a better effort from him, though. I thought he’d run well. But, from the top of the lane, almost to the wire, we were pinned down on the rail so I think he was pretty intimidated. Eurico thought if he hadn’t been pinned on the rail, he could possibly have been second. I was kind of up in the air about running him back in the Plate, but Eurico was the one who convinced me to run. He thinks he’s got a chance. I was looking for that type of race out of him and he gave it to us, which gave me confidence to go on.” Regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva gets the return call on Sunday for owners Quintessential Racing, Horse N Around Racing Stable, and Richard Lederman.

horse racinghorse racingUltimate Destiny was led into the ring by groom Christine Windsor for trainer Mike Keogh. The son of Dance to Destiny has not finished worse than second in his last five starts, capped off by a close second in an allowance on May 23. Keogh said, “He’s tall, but doesn’t carry a lot of weight. He’s certainly athletic and that’s what really caught my eye. Since the beginning, this guy carries his head way up in the air when he trains and races. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. We tried to see if we could change it, but he had none of that. That’s just his style and he’s done quite well with it." About his last start, “He ran big. He came out of it well, too. He’s also a horse that will give everything he has.” Regular rider Steven Bahen, the 2012 Avelino Gomez Memorial Award winner, will be in the irons on Sunday for owner Brenda Selwyn-Waxman.

horse racinghorse racingClassic Bryce was the last horse brought out on Monday. Groom Milton Redwood led the son of Grand Slam for trainer Darwin Banach. He comes to the Plate off a third place finish in the Plate Trial after finishing second in both the Wando and Marine. Banach said of his first Plate starter, “We’ve had chances to be in the Plate before, but we wanted to be in with a contender, not a pretender. This guy definitely has a fight to him. He can handle all that comes with Plate day, all the people in the stands and all the excitement. He’s ready. We survived the (Plate Trial) There were a couple of horses that had big days that day. Every horsemen wants to win every time, but we were pleased with the effort of our horse. This is very exciting for all of us. The more we’ve asked of him, the more he’s delivered. Distance won’t be issue and fitness won’t be a worry. I like our chances.” New jockey Todd Kabel gets the call on Sunday for owner Bill Sorokolit.

Entries were taken on Thursday morning as a post position draw in the walking ring. Here are all the Queen's Plate starters with their connections, post positions, morning line odds, and a link to a full profile from Woodbine:

Post
Position

Horse

Owner

Trainer

Jockey
M/L
Odds
1River RushStronach StablesReade BakerJim McAleney4-1
2PeytonWindhavenMike DoyleJulien Leparoux20-1
3Macho WhiskeyHarlequinReade BakerEmma-Jayne Wilson15-1
4Strait of DoverCanyon FarmsDan VellaJustin Stein3-1
5Classic BryceBill Sorokolit Darwin BanachTodd Kabel12-1
6WilcoxMelnyk Racing Stables Inc.Josie CarrollTyler Pizarro20-1
7Golden RidgeMelnyk Racing Stables Inc.Mark CasseLuis Contreras6-1
8Ultimate DestinyBrenda Selwyn-WaxmanMike KeoghSteven Bahen20-1
9Colleen's SailorTerra Di Sienna StablesRoger AttfieldCorey Nakatani15-1
10Dixie StrikeJohn OxleyMark CassePatrick Husbands8-1
11Making AmendsQuintessential Racing Fla., et alMark CasseEurico Rosa da Silva20-1
12Big CreekGreen Hills Farm Inc.Todd PletcherRamon Dominguez10-1
13Washington DashSilverton Hill LLCDarrin MillerRajiv Maragh50-1
14Irish MissionRobert EvansMark FrostadAlex Solis10-1

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