July 25, 2024

Profiling Queen’s Plate winners

Sunday’s 158th running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate is the first leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds. Woodbine switched from dirt to a synthetic track in 2007, utilizing Polytrack for nine runnings of the 1 ¼-mile event before installing Tapeta last year.

Kellie Reilly previewed the prospective 2017 Queen’s Plate field on Monday, with the filly Holy Helena expected to be the morning line favorite for owner Stronach Stables and trainer Jimmy Jerkens following her victory in the Woodbine Oaks.

Fillies have held their own in North America’s oldest continually run race, capturing 35 previous editions including two in the last six years.

Let’s take a look at the last 10 Queen’s Plate winners:

Sir Dudley Digges (2016)

  • Made his ninth career start but only second stakes attempt in Queen’s Plate
  • Non-threatening third trying Woodbine’s Tapeta in previous outing, 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial
  • Broke maiden two starts previously, winning seventh career start on Keeneland’s turf on April 22
  • Stalked pace before upsetting Queen’s Plate at 15-1 odds

Shaman Ghost (2015)

  • Improving colt made seventh career start in Queen’s Plate
  • Stretched win streak to three making stakes bow in previous outing, 1 1/16-mile Marine (G3) at Woodbine
  • After dropping first three starts, recorded maiden and allowance wins on dirt at Gulfstream and Keeneland before switching back to Polytrack debut in Marine
  • Rallied from more than 10 lengths off the pace to win Queen’s Plate by 1 ¼ lengths at 3-1 odds

Lexie Lou (2014)

  • Filly was a stakes veteran, making her 11th consecutive black-type start in Queen’s Plate
  • Had raced exclusively on Woodbine’s Polytrack
  • Smashing 4 ½-length winner of final prep in the Woodbine Oaks
  • Versatile type closed from ninth in early stages to win Queen’s Plate going away at 3-1 odds

Midnight Aria (2013)

  • Least accomplished winner this century, making five previous starts at claiming level and haltered for $35,000 tag from third race
  • Only previous win came versus a short field in an off-the-turf maiden at Gulfstream Park
  • Finished third at long odds making first two stakes and Woodbine starts in Wando and Plate Trial
  • Led wire-to-wire at 16-1 odds in Queen’s Plate, opening big lead in upper stretch before holding on by a diminishing half-length

Strait of Dover (2012)

  • Only Queen’s Plate winner this century bred in British Columbia (rest in Ontario)
  • Moved to Woodbine’s Polytrack after dropping first two attempts on dirt at Hastings Park and finished first in four consecutive starts (including a DQ) before making seventh career start in Queen’s Plate
  • Romped by 6 ½ lengths in front-running style while making stakes debut in final prep, the Marine
  • Comfortable wire-to-wire winner in Queen’s Plate, scoring by 1 ¼ lengths at 7-2 odds in final career start

Inglorious (2011)

  • Filly raced exclusively in stakes company in six starts prior to Queen’s Plate, opening career with a pair of juvenile wins on Woodbine’s Polytrack
  • On Kentucky Oaks trail early in sophomore season, finishing second in Rachel Alexandra (G3) and fourth in Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) before being redirected to Woodbine
  • Prepped for Queen’s Plate with wins over fillies in La Lorgnette and Woodbine Oaks
  • Late runner swept by rivals on far turn and stormed home to win Queen’s Plate going away by 2 ½ lengths at 9-2 odds

Big Red Mike (2010)

  • Won or placed in first five starts (2-2-1), with the Queen’s Plate representing his second stakes attempt
  • Posted an 8-1 upset in Plate Trial in previous outing
  • Had raced exclusively on Woodbine’s Polytrack
  • Established slow early pace leading wire-to-wire, winning by 1 ½ lengths at 5-1 odds

Eye of the Leopard (2009)

  • Lightly-raced type didn’t make career bow until mid-April, breaking his maiden the second-time out at Woodbine on May 10
  • Captured Plate Trial in third start
  • Made fourth career outing in Queen’s Plate and rallied from just off the pace to prevail by a neck as the 2-1 favorite

Not Bourbon (2008)

  • Stakes and Woodbine veteran was making 10th career start but just second two-turn attempt in Queen’s Plate
  • After six juvenile appearances, he opened sophomore campaign with a close second in the Achievement and a five-length romp in Queenston sprinting
  • Stretched out to a route with a narrow win in Plate Trial
  • Rallied from just off pace to clear lead in upper stretch and just held on to win Queen’s Plate by a head at 9-2 odds

Mike Fox (2007)

  • Made eighth career start in Queen’s Plate and wasn’t a serious factor in three previous stakes attempts
  • Recorded maiden and entry-level allowance wins at age 2 on Woodbine’s Polytrack but failed to fire in a pair of stakes appearances
  • Made three sophomore starts before Queen’s Plate, recording a pair of unplaced efforts before capturing a two-turn allowance in late May
  • Overlooked at 15-1 odds, he stalked the pace in third before getting up late to win the Queen’s Plate by a half-length