July 18, 2024

Kalik, Elysian Field lead overflow field in King’s Plate

Kalik wins the Pennine Ridge Stakes (Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk/Coglianese Photos)

For the first time in 72 years, Canada’s signature classic will be run as the King’s Plate on Sunday. The C$1 million prize recognizing the British sovereign had been named the Queen’s Plate throughout the long reign of the late Elizabeth II. Fittingly, the last renewal was won by a filly, the eventual Canadian Horse of the Year Moira. Elysian Field and Wickenheiser will try to keep the female trend going at Woodbine in the new era of Charles III, if they can overcome males led by Chad Brown shipper Kalik.

Although Kalik has yet to race on a synthetic surface, the son of the versatile Collected has performed well on turf. He won three straight, capped by a wire-to-wire victory in the June 3 Pennine Ridge (G2) over Far Bridge. Kalik comes off a subpar eighth behind Far Bridge in the Belmont Derby (G1), where he was out of position early. The 3-1 morning line favorite in the King’s Plate, Kalik picks up Kazushi Kimura.

Elysian Field rolled to a 2 1/4-length decision in the Woodbine Oaks, the same stepping stone used by four of the past nine winners of this Canadian-bred classic. That includes both of trainer Mark Casse’s Queen’s Plate winners, Lexie Lou (2014) and Wonder Gadot (2018). Lexie Lou turned the Oaks/Plate double, as did Holy Helena (2017) and Moira, while Wonder Gadot improved from a near-miss in the Oaks. Elysian Field keeps Sahin Civaci aboard as an 8-1 chance.

The 12-1 Wickenheiser, who closed from far back to take second in the Oaks, could reach a new level on the step up to 1 1/4 miles. By Lemon Drop Kid and out of the Montjeu mare Game, she is a full sister to Belichick, the 2020 Breeders’ S. winner and Queen’s Plate runner-up, and Season Ticket, successful in the 2015 Wonder Where S. Rafael Hernandez has the riding assignment.

Kaukokaipuu returns to Canadian-bred company following a fine second in the Marine (G3) to another Brown invader, Turf King. Two starts back, Kaukokaipuu captured the Queenston S., rallying past Casse’s Paramount Prince, who came back to wire the Plate Trial.

Stanley House, a belated sixth as the even-money favorite in the Plate Trial, aims to prove that result all wrong with new rider Javier Castellano. The Hall of Famer seeks to add this first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown to his resume, after winning the 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1) aboard Mage and the Belmont (G1) with Arcangelo.

Paramount Prince and Stanley House bookend the six Plate Trial alumni advancing to the King’s Plate. The respective second through fifth-place finishers in the prep – Cool Kiss, Twin City, Velocitor, and Philip My Dear – all renew rivalry as well.

Well-bred Touch’n Ride, a Candy Ride half-brother to 2018 Breeders’ S. winner Neepawa, takes the class hike off a dominant maiden score for Josie Carroll. The Plate’s all-time leading trainer, Roger Attfield, goes for a ninth win with his homebred Twowaycrossing. A son of English Channel from the family of 2019 Kentucky Derby winner Country House and Canadian classic hero Breaking Lucky, Twowaycrossing exits an allowance win.

Rounding out the overflow field of 19 are recent allowance winners Silent Miracle and Midnight in Malibu; Moon Landing, who adds blinkers after a close third to Midnight in Malibu; 50-1 longshots El Cohete and Morstachy’s; and the two also-eligibles, Enjoythesilent and thrice-raced maiden Runaway Charlie, Moira’s brother.

Update: Woodbine announced on Saturday that Enjoythesilent was erroneously on the also-eligible list, due to incorrect earnings tabulated by Equibase. Upon recalculation, Enjoythesilent should be in the main body of the field, and El Cohete relegated as the first also-eligible.

The stewards will resolve the situation, according to the press release:

“After discussion with the AGCO stewards, the decision has been made that should no horses scratch by Sunday morning, El Cohete will be a Steward’s scratch and Enjoythesilent will draw into the race. Should any other horse scratch, both horses will be allowed to race.”

The King’s Plate is set for 5:39 p.m. (ET) as the 10th race. Reigning titleholder Moira will make an appearance in the immediately preceding race, the C$200,000 Dance Smartly (G2) on turf. The undercard also features the C$150,000 Bold Venture (G3) and a pair of C$125,000 stakes for turf juveniles, the Soaring Free S. and Catch a Glimpse S.