January 23, 2022

Munnyfor Ro, Safe Conduct top draws in competitive 13-horse Queen’s Plate

Mighty Heart
Mighty Heart wins the 2020 Queen's Plate at Woodbine (Michael Burns Photo)

Queen’s Plate – Race 10 (5:42 p.m. ET)

Woodbine Oaks winner Munnyfor Ro and New York invader Safe Conduct are among top contenders in Sunday’s 162nd edition of the $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine. Restricted to Canadian-bred three-year-olds, a well-matched field of 13 is set for the 1 1/4-mile test on the Tapeta track.

Keep Grinding, runner-up in the July 11 Marine S. (G3) at Woodbine, has been installed as a slight 4-1 morning line favorite in the Queen’s Plate, which is the longest consecutively-run race in North America. The Ontario-bred Tizway colt highlights the Attard family connection to the first leg of the 2021 Canadian Triple Crown. Trained by Tino Attard, Keep Grinding is owned by Tino’s grandson, 17-year-old Joshua Attard, and Rafael Hernandez will be up for the dark bay’s second stakes attempt.

Kevin Attard, Tino’s son and Joshua’s father, will be represented by four contestants, including Munnyfor Ro. Listed at 9-2 on the morning line, the Munnings filly overcame a slow start to win the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks going away by 1 1/4 lengths, and she will try to become the fifth Oaks runner to win the Queen’s Plate. Justin Stein rides.

Safe Conduct, who exits an unplaced finish against better in the July 10 Belmont Derby (G1), merits serious respect. Trained by Philip Serpe, the Bodemeister colt posted a sharp 2 1/2-length allowance score two starts back over Public Sector, who recently won the Hall of Fame S. (G2). Bettors can toss Safe Conduct’s fourth in the off-the-turf Pennine Ridge (G3) two back, and Irad Ortiz Jr. will be up on the early presser.

Riptide Rock, last seen posting a convincing allowance score in mid-July, comes next on the morning line at 6-1. The Point of Entry gelding is trained by Sid Attard, brother to Tino and uncle to Kevin, and David Moran picks up the mount. Kevin Attard will also send out Marine third-placer Haddassah; last-out allowance winner Harlan Estate; and H C Holiday, who was elevated to second by the stewards after finishing third in the Plate Trial.

Avoman exits a victory in the Aug. 1 Plate Trial S., and Antonio Gallardo will be back up on the multiple stakes victor for Donald MacRae. Dance Some Mo is eligible to improve upon a nose second in his first start over the Tapeta, and Tidal Forces will attempt to rebound after sustaining his first setback in the Marine.