January 24, 2022

Queen’s Plate headlines six-stakes card at Woodbine

Avie's Flatter and jockey Javier Castellano capture the Transylvania Stakes (G3) at Keeneland on April 5, 2019 (c) Coady Photography/Keeneland

One filly, six colts, six geldings and one ridgling comprise the C$1 million Queen’s Plate field at Woodbine on Saturday. The 1 1/4-mile contest, restricted to Canadian-bred sophomores, is the feature contest on a stakes-laden card.

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Avie’s Flatter drew the far outside 14 post and has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the Queen’s Plate. The Josie Carroll pupil captured three of his first four starts at Woodbine as a juvenile, two on the synthetic track including the Coronation Futurity, and opened his sophomore campaign with a half-length victory in the Transylvania Stakes (G3) at Keeneland on April 9. The Flatter colt will attempt to rebound in this spot off a sixth-placing in the American Turf Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.

Also entered in the Canadian classic are the filly Desert Ride, who is 4-3-1-0 in her career including the Woodbine Oaks last out; Wando Stakes winner and Marine Stakes (G3) runner-up Skywire; and Pay for Peace, Federal Law, Rising Star, Moon Swings and Krachenwagen, the respective top five finishers in the Plate Trial Stakes on June 8.

Nine runners have been entered to go six furlongs on Woodbine’s turf in the C$300,000 Highlander Stakes (G1) one race prior to the Queen’s Plate. Caribou Club, hero of the Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) and Joe Hernandez Stakes (G3), returns in this spot after finishing a subpar last of 13 in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) in Dubai on March 30. Looking to derail the 7-5 morning-line favorite in this spot are recent Connaught Cup Stakes (G2) scorer El Tormenta and Extravagant Kid, victor of the Mighty Beau Stakes last out.

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The C$175,000 King Edward Stakes (G2) is the first of the three graded races and attracted eight runners to go a mile on the turf. Grade 2 hero Synchrony is the 7-5 morning-line favorite, having last been seen running a neck second in the Monmouth Stakes (G2) for trainer Michael Stidham. Among those lining up against the six-year-old son of Tapit are Emmaus and Curlin’s Honor, the respective second- and third-place finishers from the Connaught Cup (G2) most recently, and Mr Ritz, a nose second in the Eclipse Stakes (G2) on Woodbine’s Tapeta last out.

Holy Helena, the 2017 Canadian champion three-year-old filly who captured that year’s Queen’s Plate and Woodbine Oaks, headlines the C$175,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (G2). The Jimmy Jerkens-trained daughter of Ghostzapper, who captured The Very One Stakes (G3) and was a rallying fourth in The New York Stakes (G2) in her past two, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite against seven rivals.

The C$100,000 Charlie Barley Stakes for sophomores kicks off the stakes action Saturday at Woodbine. Contested at a mile on the turf, the event drew a field of seven including The Black Album, who ran third by a length in the Transylvania Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in April before finishing seventh by only 2 1/2 lengths in the American Turf Stakes (G2) on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs. The Rodolphe Brisset trainee enters this spot off a well-beaten sixth on yielding turf in the June 1 Penn Mile (G2).

Next up on Woodbine program will be the C$100,000 Zadracarta Stakes for Ontario-bred distaffers. Silent Sonet captured this seven-furlong turf affair last year by 1 1/4 lengths and goes for a repeat here against seven rivals.