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2017 Queen's Plate Entries

Woodbine Oaks winner Holy Helena is the favorite for the 154th Queen's Plate on Sunday.

Date: 06/28/2017

The post positions for Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate Stakes were selected during a special breakfast ceremony on Wednesday morning in the trackside tent, before a crowd of owners, officials, media, and horsemen. This year marks the 158th edition of the Plate, the oldest continuously-run stakes race in North America, which is run at 1 1/4 miles over the Tapeta surface 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 the fillies Holy Helena, winner of the Woodbine Oaks, and Inflexibility, 3rd in the Oaks, carry 121 pounds.

Drawing the selection order with Racing Secretary Stu Slagle, singer Kristen Violet May, and track announcer Robert Geller.
In what has become an annual "state of the industry" address, Woodbine chairman and CEO Jim Lawson spoke about upcoming changes, as a followup to announcements he made at the North America Cup post position draw at Mohawk. That day he announced that harness racing would move permanently to the renamed "Woodbine at Mohawk Park" in Campbellville, year-round. Today he announced that the 7 furlong harness track at Woodbine would be converted back to the inner turf course it had been from 1956-1993. Sod is currently being grown at a nearby farm, which will be installed during the 2018 season. He said turf racing draws larger fields and larger betting handle, so with two courses, Woodbine can card as many as 6 turf races per raceday. In addition groundbreaking will occur next year for the long-term redevelopment project announced in May, with entertainment venues, gaming expansion, shopping, dining, a new paddock, and hopefully rail public transit (GO Transit or UP Express).

Selection order is determined using a double-blind random draw of numbered pills and entry forms. Local musician Kristen Violet May randomly drew the entry sheets out of the box, handing these to track announcer Robert Geller while racing secretary Stu Slagle drew the 13 numbered balls. May is an up-and-coming jazz vocalist who was recently featured in CBC's list of the 35 best Canadian jazz artists under 35. She will sing the national anthem on Queen's Plate day as well as perform at the VIP Garden Party Tent.

Some of the Queen's Plate jockeys pose with the trophy after the draw. From left to right they are: Gary Boulanger, Slade Callaghan, Eurico Da Silva, David Moran, Alan Garcia, Jerome Lermyte, Jesse Campbell, Luis Contreras.
As expected Woodbine Oaks winner Holy Helena is the lukewarm 3-1 favorite. After breaking her maiden at second asking going 1 1/16 mile at Belmont Park on May 12, the daughter of Ghostzapper was shipped to Woodbine to win the Oaks for new jockey Luis Contreras. Since that win she has remained on the grounds to prepare for the Gallop for the Guineas. Contreras retains the mount for trainer Jimmy Jerkens and owner-breeder Stronach Stables out of post 3. By phone from New York, Jerkens said, "I'd rather be further out (than post 3). I don't think she'll be the favorite as she'll be running against the boys out of a wide post which is always tough." Racing manager Mike Doyle added, "She trained here last year at 2 and we sent her to the farm for the winter. She got to look pretty nice in the spring so we found a race for her in New York to ultimately prep for the Woodbine Oaks."

The 4-1 second choice is Channel Maker out of post 1. He broke his maiden at Woodbine in the Vandal Stakes as a juvenile, and followed that up with a 3rd in the Summer Stakes (G2) then 7th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). He started the year with an 8th in the Palm Beach (G3) at Gulfstream. On May 28 trainer Bill Mott took him off the turf in the Marine (G3) where he finished second. Rafael Hernandez retains the mount aboard the son of English Channel for owners Joey Gee Thoroughbreds and Wachtel Stable. Assistant trainer Riley Mott, son of Bill, said, "We've been lucky to get a nice horse out of the Keeneland sale and kind of targeted this race since then. I think Monday morning's going to be a good day!"

Jockey Gary Boulanger selects post 6 for King and His Court.
The 5-1 third choice is King and His Court out of post 6. Winner of the Coronation Futurity and Display Stakes as a 2-year-old, he started his 3-year-old campaign finishing 9th in the Sam F. Davis (G3) and 10th in the Spiral (G1). Returning home to Woodbine he won the Wando Stakes and was 2nd in the Plate Trial. Regular rider Gary Boulanger retains the mount for owners Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber and trainer Mark Casse. Boulanger said, "He's a dream to ride, a great little horse, always trying and always has a big finish. Been a lot of fun. He's pretty easy to ride, he'll go anywhere and doesn't get scared, he won't back down if I put him on the inside. Might not be his best day in the Trial but he'll be fine."

The 6-1 fourth choice is Aurora Way, whose trainer Stuart Simon was given the first pick and took post 11 for new jockey Julien Leparoux and owner Chiefswood Stable. Simon said, "For a horse that's only had one start he's had a lot of training, seasoning, he's got a lot of talent so I hope that carries him the distance on Sunday."

The Queen's Plate draw board with post positions.
Post time for the Plate will be 5:36pm ET on Sunday July 2 and the race will be televised on CTV and TSN (in 4K) in Canada from 4:30 - 6:00, hosted by Brian Williams and Jim Bannon. 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 and there are 5 stakes races on the undercard, all of which are run on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course. The $250,000 Highlander Stakes (G2) for older horses at 6 furlongs on turf, kicks off the stakes action as race 4 (1:39pm) and is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Turf Sprint for the first time. New to the Plate program is the $175,000 King Edward Stakes (G2) for older horses going 1 mile on the turf (race 6, 2:53pm), an early prep for the Woodbine Mile (G1). The $175,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (G2) features older fillies and mares going 1 1/4 miles on turf (race 9, 4:51pm), the $125,000 Singspiel (G3) is for older horses contesting the 1 1/2 mile lap of the course (race 8, 4:18pm), and the $100,000 Charlie Barley is an overnight stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on turf, closing out the stakes action as race 12 at 6:54pm.

Below are the entries for the 2017 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 (look for Tiz a Slam)

Queen's Plate Poll
Who will win the Queen's Plate?

Channel Maker
Guy Caballero
Holy Helena
Spirit of Caledon
King and His Court
State of Honor
Malibu Secret
Aurora Way
Tiz a Slam
Watch Me Strut

1Channel MakerRafael HernandezBill Mott4-1
2Guy CaballeroJose OrtizCatherine Day Phillips10-1
3Holy HelenaLuis ContrerasJames Jerkens3-1
4Spirit of CaledonJerome LermytePat Parente50-1
5InflexibilityJavier CastellanoChad Brown10-1
6King and His CourtGary BoulangerMark Casse5-1
7State of HonorPatrick HusbandsMark Casse8-1
8Malibu SecretAlan GarciaMalcolm Pierce20-1
9MegagrayJesse CampbellMike Keogh9-1
10VaughanSlade CallaghanJohn Mattine50-1
11Aurora WayJulien LeparouxStu Simon6-1
12Tiz A SlamEurico Da SilvaRoger Attfield10-1
13Watch Me StrutDavid MoranCatherine Day Phillips30-1

The Queen's Plate Trophy
Queen's Plate info online:

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