July 14, 2024

Paramount Prince rules King’s Plate

Paramount Prince wired the 164th King's Plate (Photo by Michael Burns Photography)

The first winner of the C$1 million King’s Plate in the reign of Charles III turned out to be the aptly-named Paramount Prince, who used his speed to rule the classic from the start. Remaining 1 1/2 lengths clear of better-fancied stablemate Elysian Field, the 8-1 chance topped an exacta for dual Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse and co-owner Gary Barber.

While Casse, Barber, and jockey Patrick Husbands were all winning the Plate for the third time, co-owner Michael Langlois was celebrating in just his first full year of campaigning horses. Langlois purchased the son of Society’s Chairman, bred by Ericka Nadine Rusnak in Ontario, for $16,661 at the Canadian Premier Yearling Sale.

Paramount Prince was coming off a front-running coup in the July 23 Plate Trial at Woodbine. Bettors suspected that the gelding wouldn’t have as straightforward a task, however, in this first jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown. He did expend more energy early to cross over from post 13, and rattled off faster fractions, but enjoyed an uncontested lead and had plenty left to hold sway.

The Chad Brown-trained Kalik, the lukewarm 4.05-1 favorite, failed to muster his early foot. Never nearer than eighth, he ended up retreating to 13th.

Perhaps the likeliest to challenge Paramount Prince early, El Cohete, was scratched by order of the stewards. An earnings mix-up revealed Saturday meant that El Cohete should have been the first also-eligible, not Enjoythesilent. Thus El Cohete was scratched, allowing Enjoythesilent to compete as his revised spot on the earnings list warranted.

Once Paramount Prince established a two-length cushion through an opening quarter in :23.28 on the Tapeta, he found his comfort zone in splits of :47.41, 1:11.81, and 1:36.47. By that point, Woodbine Oaks heroine Elysian Field advanced on the inside, and promised to threaten once tipped out in the lane. Try though she might, the 4.60-1 chance could not peg back Paramount Prince.

Stanley House, the slight 4.40-1 second choice who was a troubled sixth in the Plate Trial, rallied from farther back to enter the picture. Yet he had to settle for third, another 1 1/2 lengths back, as Paramount Prince confirmed the Trial form.

Velocitor, always prominent among the stalkers, checked in a further four lengths astern in fourth. The inexperienced Touch’n Ride closed for fifth despite a checkered passage. Enjoythesilent, Cool Kiss, Twin City, Philip My Dear, Moon Landing, Wickenheiser, slow-starting Twowaycrossing, Kalik, Morstachy’s, Kaukokaipuu, Silent Miracle, and Midnight in Malibu. Scratched along with El Cohete was the second also-eligible, Runaway Charlie.

Paramount Prince covered 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.93, just off the stakes and track record of 2:01.48 set by Moira a year ago. His scorecard stands at 6-3-2-1, $580,871, including a third in last December’s Clarendon S. for original trainer Jamie Attard and a second in the June 11 Queenston S. He’s been a different proposition since stretching out from sprints to routes.

The Plate win was especially poignant for Husbands, as fellow Barbadian Ricky Griffith, the jockey-turned-trainer, recently passed away from Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He dedicated the race to Griffith and to the entire community of expat Caribbean horsemen.

Husbands scored his initial Plate victory with Canadian Triple Crown champion Wando (2003), then teamed up with Casse and Barber to win aboard Lexie Lou (2014). Casse and Barber also took the Plate with another star filly, Wonder Gadot (2018), so Paramount Prince is their first male winner.

The Canadian Triple Crown continues with the Sept. 12 Prince of Wales on the dirt at Fort Erie and concludes with the Oct. 1 Breeders’ S. on the Woodbine turf.

Speed was also the theme in three of the undercard stakes. Miss Dracarys upset last year’s Plate queen Moira on the front end in the 1 1/16-mile Dance Smartly (G2) on turf; 2.15-1 favorite Patches O’Houlihan wired the Bold Venture (G3) going six furlongs on Tapeta; and Casse’s Golden Canary broke her maiden in the Soaring Free S. sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on turf.

The exception to the pattern was the companion Catch a Glimpse S. for fillies, where Airosa rolled from just off the torrid pace. Golden Canary, second to Airosa in a course-and-distance maiden, had been cross-entered to both juvenile stakes. Casse chose the right one in open company, as Golden Canary needed 1:15.47, and Airosa clocked a faster 1:14.68.