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Woodbine Oaks winner Holy Helena 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 BRISnet.com (look for Tiz a Slam)
|1||Channel Maker||Rafael Hernandez||Bill Mott||4-1|
|2||Guy Caballero||Jose Ortiz||Catherine Day Phillips||10-1|
|3||Holy Helena||Luis Contreras||James Jerkens||3-1|
|4||Spirit of Caledon||Jerome Lermyte||Pat Parente||50-1|
|5||Inflexibility||Javier Castellano||Chad Brown||10-1|
|6||King and His Court||Gary Boulanger||Mark Casse||5-1|
|7||State of Honor||Patrick Husbands||Mark Casse||8-1|
|8||Malibu Secret||Alan Garcia||Malcolm Pierce||20-1|
|9||Megagray||Jesse Campbell||Mike Keogh||9-1|
|10||Vaughan||Slade Callaghan||John Mattine||50-1|
|11||Aurora Way||Julien Leparoux||Stu Simon||6-1|
|12||Tiz A Slam||Eurico Da Silva||Roger Attfield||10-1|
|13||Watch Me Strut||David Moran||Catherine Day Phillips||30-1|
The Queen's Plate Trophy
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