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Co-owners Mr. and Mrs. John Menary (left) and co-owner/trainer Gail Cox (right) lead Something Extra to the winner's circle after the Highlander Stakes.
Queen's Plate Day is one of the biggest racedays of the year at Woodbine, attracting the biggest crowd of the year. Those who filled the grandstand and the apron on a picture-perfect Sunday afternoon were treated to three additional stakes races on the undercard. It was mostly sunny all afternoon, with a few passing clouds and temperatures in the low 80's, with occasional wind gusts approaching 30mph.
Immediately before the Plate, a field of 10 older horses contested the $200,000 Highlander Stakes (G2) presented by Pizzaville for older horses sprinting 6 furlongs on turf. Connaught Cup (G2) runner-up Something Extra was sent off as the 7-4 favorite over 7-2 Mr. Online, fourth in the Connaught, and 4-1 Phil's Dream, winner of the Ontario Jockey Club Stakes.
Something Extra and 35-1 Sparrowhawk battled for the lead down the backstretch and around the turn through fast fractions of 21.86 and 43.92 over the firm course while stalked by 10-1 Stormy Rush. Entering the lane, Something Extra took over the lead as Sparrowhawk tired badly, and drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Phil's Dream in 1:07.78, just 0.39 off the course record. It was a nose back to late-runing 24-1 Lockout third.
Left: Something Extra in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva said, "He's a very special horse. He's very easy to ride. In the race, he broke very well. Gerry Olguin on the speed horse (Sparrowhawk) was very kind. He never dropped over on me, and we need to appreciate that."
Right: Something Extra in the paddock before the race.
Immediately after the arrival of Ontario Lieutenant-Governor David Onley, this year's Royal Representative, a field of 6 older horses contested the $150,000 Singspiel Stakes (G3) presented by RCC Media at 1 1/2 miles on the turf. Last year's winner Forte Dei Marmi was the 8-5 favorite over 2-1 Aldous Snow, an allowance winner last out, and 5-1 Dynamic Sky, who was 3rd in last year's Queen's Plate.
Jockey Gerry Olguin sent 17-1 longest shot Quaesitor to the lead first time by and he set easy fractions of 26.34, 51.81, 1:17.27 and 1:41.62 while stalked by Dynamic Sky. At the top of the lane, Quaesitor tired badly allowing Dynamic Sky to inherit the lead through 10f in 2:05.25. However, Aldous Snow, fifth early, came through to get the lead at the 3/16 pole, and was all out to hold off late-running 6-1 Perfect Timber by a nose in 2:28.85. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Dynamic Sky third, and 1 1/4 more to favorite Forte Dei Marmi third.
Left: Aldous Snow in the winner's circle. Winning owner Rick Balaz said, "We always want to give these guys the best chance to win, if that's possible. We felt he'd do better by being gelded and obviously he has, so it was a good decision. I think we've all seen that size doesn't really matter in race horses that much, it's about the heart, what they've got inside and he's a great little guy."
Right: Aldous Snow gets hosed off after the race.
Kicking off the stakes action on Plate Day, a field of 8 older fillies and mares contested the $200,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (G3) presented by Rethink Breast Cancer at about 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Nassau (G2) third place finisher Deceptive Vision was the 2-1 favorite over 5-2 Overheard, 2nd in the Ms. Liberty at Monmouth Park, and 6-1 Theatre Star, 4th in the Wilshire (G3) at Santa Anita.
7-1 English Class was quickest away through an opening quarter in 24.05 before Deceptive Vision took over near the end of the backstretch through a half in 47.28, stalked by 16-1 Savvy Hunter. Deceptive Vision continued to lead through the lane, but Overheard, 7th early, rallied 5 wide to just get up in a photo finish in 1:44.25. It was another nose back to Savvy Hunter third.
Left: Overheard in the winner's circle. Winning owner-breeder Josephine Abercrombie (far left) said, "She is special. We've adored her since the beginning. She's run beautifully since Malcolm's had her. We're happy."
Right: Overheard after the race. Winning jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva, who celebrated at the finish post despite needing the photo, said, "I was really confident I won the race. I was so happy because I had such a bad trip the last time with this filly. I got stuck. The half went in 51 seconds. She could have won that race (if the pace had been quicker)."
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