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Plate Trial winner Telekinesis is the favorite for the 159th 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 159th 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, and this year a field of 16 (just 1 short of the safety limit of 17) made final entry. Colts and geldings carry the standard weight of 126 pounds while the fillies Dixie Moon, winner of the Woodbine Oaks, and Wonder Gadot, 2nd as the favorite in the Oaks, carry 121 pounds. Unlike the Kentucky Derby, the auxiliary gate at Woodbine parks on the inside, so posts 1 and 2 break from the auxiliary with posts 3 through 16 breaking from the main gate.
Drawing the selection order with Racing Secretary Stu Slagle and track announcer Robert Geller.
Selection order is determined using a double-blind random draw of numbered pills and entry forms. Track announcer Robert Geller randomly drew the entry sheets out of the box while racing secretary Stu Slagle drew the 16 numbered balls. After a 5 minute break where connections could "huddle" at their tables to discuss strategy, each horse's representative (any or all of trainer, owner, or jockey) came up to pick the post position. Unlike past years the connections were not interviewed on stage, which helped to speed up the proceeedings.
Some of the Queen's Plate jockeys pose with Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson and the trophy after the draw. From left to right they are: Eurico Rosa da Silva, Rafael Hernandez, Luis Contreras, Chantal Sutherland, Gary Boulanger, David Moran, Jalon Samuel, and Alan Garcia.
Telekinesis' stablemate Wonder Gadot is the 3-1 second choice, after trainer Casse selected post 11 for jockey John Velazquez and owner Gary Barber. Winless since the Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct in December, she was 6th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and comes here off 2nd place finishes in the Fantasy (G3), Kentucky Oaks (G1), and Woodbine Oaks. Casse said, "I thought she was really unlucky but she can cause some of her bad luck. Her Kentucky Oaks performance was tremendous. She hopped at the start of the Woodbine Oaks, was a little wide, but had every shot to win so I was a little disappointed. We are going to add blinkers (in the Plate) to see if we can get her to focus a little better. She tends to want to hang a little when she's coming down to the wire so we're hoping she'll keep on running."
Trainer Mark Casse selects posts 10 and 11 for Telekinesis and Wonder Gadot.
The rest of the field is double digit morning line odds, led by Strike Me Down out of post 4. Jose Ortiz gets the call for trainer Graham Motion and owner Sam-Son Farm. Last October he finished 2nd in the Cup and Saucer at Woodbine then after a winter layoff, broke his maiden in May at Woodbine then shipped to Monmouth to finish second in the Tale of the Cat Stakes. Motion said, "For raw talent I think this horse is the most talented. He just needs to try and put it together in the afternoon. He's a Tapit so he can be a little bit of a menace. I'm going to run him with a hood (over his ears) which might help him. He can be fussy and nervous in the post parade. (The Plate) is definitely a race that's been on my radar, a race that I'd love to say I won. Those historic races are the ones you'd love to win."
The Queen's Plate draw board with post positions.
Below are the entries for the 2018 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 Telekinesis)
|1||Boyhood Dream||Michael Maker||Alan Garcia||30-1|
|2||Cooler Mike||Nick Nosowenko||Jesse Campbell||30-1|
|3||Inge||Norm McKnight||Chantal Sutherland||30-1|
|4||Strike Me Down||Graham Motion||Jose Ortiz||10-1|
|5||Silent Poet||Nick Gonzalez||Gary Boulanger||30-1|
|6||Real Dude||Sid Attard||David Moran||50-1|
|7||Dixie Moon||Catherine Day Phillips||Eurico Rosa da Silva||4-1|
|8||Alternative Route||Al Stall, Jr.||Mitchell Murrill||20-1|
|9||Say the Word||Graham Motion||Rafael Hernandez||20-1|
|10||Telekinesis||Mark Casse||Patrick Husbands||5-2|
|11||Wonder Gadot||Mark Casse||John Velazquez||3-1|
|12||Pawnbroker||Michael Maker||Joel Rosario||50-1|
|13||Marriage Counselor||Michael Maker||Jalon Samuel||50-1|
|14||Neepawa||Mark Casse||Florent Geroux||15-1|
|15||Aheadbyacentury||John Ross||Luis Contreras||15-1|
|16||Rose’s Vision||Stu Simon||Javier Castellano||12-1|
The Queen's Plate Trophy
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