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Up With the Birds is the favorite for the 154th Queen's Plate on Sunday.
The post positions for Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate Stakes were selected during a special breakfast ceremony on Thursday morning. Connections, media, and officials gathered in the trackside tent instead of the walking ring due to rainy weather. This year marks the 154th edition of the Plate, the oldest continuously-run stakes race in North America, which at run at 1 1/4 miles over the Polytrack at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. The Plate is the premier race for Canadian-foaled 3-year-olds and the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Colts and geldings carry the standard weight of 126 pounds while fillies Nipissing and Spring in the Air each get a 5 pound allowance.
In what has become an annual "state of the industry" address, Woodbine chairman and CEO Nick Eaves spoke about the changes being felt by the racing and breeding community in Ontario. A year ago he stated that the 2012 edition may be the last Queen's Plate ever, with the possibility of Woodbine closing for good. However, since the resignation of then-premier Dalton McGuinty, the ruling Liberals under new premier Kathleen Wynne appear to want to save the industry, or at least work with it, but not by simply going back to the previous formula where tracks and horsemen simply took a cut of slots revenue, with no real incentive to improve the racing product. Eaves sounded cautiously optimistic, but confident that live racing at Woodbine and the Plate would continue for years.
Drawing the selection order with track announcer Dan Loiselle, trainer Roger Attfield, and Racing Secretary Steve Lym.
Trainer Malcolm Pierce and Lisa Balaz of Sam Son Farms pick post 7 for favorite Up With the Birds
Trainer Rachel Halden, who got to select 7th, took post 9 for 7-2 second choice Nipissing. The daughter of 2004 Queen's Plate winner Niigon won the Woodbine Oaks last out. Regular rider Steve Bahen will be in the irons on Sunday for owner-breeder Chiefswood Stable. Halden said, "She's just very level-headed, very classy. She usually stands out on the track with my pony but she can stand there for half an hour if needs be. I was very happy with her half-mile work, galloped out in a minute in change (5f) and out in 1:14 (6f)." Owner Bob Krembil, asked about the possibility of winning his second Plate (his first was with Niigon), said "They're both good (horses), we'd like to win this one too! We'll need pace, position."
Trainer Mark Casse selected post 2 for third choice Dynamic Sky.
Post time for the Plate will be 5:38pm ET on Sunday July 7 and the race will be televised on CBC in high definition from 4:30 - 6:00. The full card will be simulcast to many locations throughout North America, and be broadcast on TVG in America and HPI in Canada. The Plate will be carded as race 10, while there are 4 stakes races on the undercard. The stakes quintet begins wih the Clarendon Stakes for Ontario-bred juveniles at 5 1/2 furlongs (race 3), followed by the Dance Smartly (G2) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf (race 6), the Singspiel (G3) for older horses at 1 1/2 miles on turf (race 8), and the Highlander (G2) for older horses sprinting 6 furlongs on turf (race 9). Below are the entries for the 2013 Queen's Plate with post positions, morning line odds, trainer, jockey, and a link to a full profile from Woodbine. Free past performances are available here from BRISnet.com (scroll about 3/4 of the way down and look under Spring at Last.)
|1||Midnight Aria||Nick Gonzalez||Jesse Campbell||15-1|
|2||Dynamic Sky||Mark Casse||Joel Rosario||4-1|
|3||Jagger M||Mark Casse||Shaun Bridgmohan||20-1|
|4||Spring in the Air||Mark Casse||Gary Boulanger||10-1|
|5||County Lineman||Mark Frostad||Alex Solis||30-1|
|6||Kaigun||Mark Casse||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|
The post positions for the 154th Queen's Plate.
The Queen's Plate Trophy
Eight-time Queen's Plate winner and Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield holds the Queen's Plate trophy while this year's trainers and jockeys surround him. From left to right: Eurico Rosa da Silva, Malcolm Pierce, Gary Boulanger, Nick Gonzalez, Mark Casse, Roger Attfield, Mark Frostad, Luis Contreras, Rachel Halden, Steve Bahen, Nick Nosowenko, and Jim McAleney.
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