A mile and a quarter race for Thoroughbred 3-year-olds, held at a nation’s most famous racetrack … doesn’t that sound like a description of the Kentucky Derby?
Yes, but it’s also an accurate description of the CA$1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine in Canada, scheduled to be held on June 29 this year. Indeed, the Queen’s Plate is Canada’s equivalent of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve, a classic test for the best Canadian-bred 3-year-olds in training.
Like the Kentucky Derby, the Queen’s Plate Stakes typically draws a large and competitive field. Also like in the Kentucky Derby, wide post positions aren’t necessarily a significant detriment. It’s easier to work out a clean trip from an outside draw, and perhaps as a result, seven of the last 16 horses to crack the exacta in the Queen’s Plate did so while breaking from post 10 or wider.
That’s good news for the 5-2 morning line favorite #14 Avie’s Flatter, who will race from the far outside post position. On every level, Avie’s Flatter looms as one of the top contenders for victory. He’s 2-for-2 over the Woodbine Tapeta track, winning his debut by 2 ½ lengths last summer and later rallying to victory in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity Stakes. Even better, Avie’s Flatter proved himself at a high level on turf against graded stakes company this spring, winning the Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland before finishing just two lengths behind the winner in the American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs.
The 1 ¼-mile distance of the Queen’s Plate should be no issue for Avie’s Flatter—as a son of Flatter (by A.P. Indy) out of an Empire Maker mare, Avie’s Flatter should absolutely relish the added ground. It’s also encouraging that Avie’s Flatter has demonstrated enough tactical speed to stay within a few lengths of the lead and still finish strongly, a style that tends to be effective in the Queen’s Plate.
One area where the Queen’s Plate differs from the Kentucky Derby is its historical kindness to fillies. Whereas only three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby, no less than 37 have prevailed in the Queen’s Plate, including Inglorious (2011), Lexie Lou (2014), Holy Helena (2017), and Wonder Gadot (2018).
Thus, it would seem unwise to count out #1 Desert Ride, the lone filly in the 2019 Queen’s Plate field. Like Avie’s Flatter, Desert Ride has a stamina-oriented pedigree, so the distance shouldn’t be a concern. Certainly Desert Ride was finishing strongly at the conclusion of the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks three weeks ago, in which she gained 4 ½ lengths in the final furlong to prevail by a neck.
Desert Ride also won two of her three starts on turf in Louisiana and Kentucky during the winter and spring, demonstrating that she doesn’t need the confines of Canadian-bred company to excel. She’ll be among the major threats from off the pace on Saturday.
Meanwhile, on the front end, #5 One Bad Boy and #7 Federal Law are the two to watch. Since they are the only true front-runners in the Queen’s Plate field, there’s a chance these stakes-experienced runners could shake loose on a slow pace and take this field a long way on the front end. Federal Law in particular looks competitive for the two-time Queen’s Plate-winning trainer Mark Casse. He overcame a slow start to win the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes at Woodbine in May, then just failed to stretch his speed 1 1/8 miles in the Plate Trial Stakes three weeks ago, finishing second after leading into the stretch.
Thanks to the large and competitive field, the opportunity exists to make a big wagering score in the Queen’s Plate Stakes. So in addition to a couple of exactas, let’s be bold and play the trifecta as well, keying Avie’s Flatter in first and second place while emphasizing Desert Ride, One Bad Boy, and Federal Law underneath:
$2 exacta: 14 with 1,5,7 ($6)
What to say at the betting window: Woodbine, 10th race, $2 exacta: 14 with 1,5,7
$1 exacta: 1,5,7 with 14 ($3)
What to say at the betting window: Woodbine, 10th race, $2 exacta: 1,5,7 with 14
$0.60 trifecta: 14 with 1,5,7 with 1,4,5,7,10 ($7.2)
What to say at the betting window: Woodbine, 10th race, $0.60 trifecta: 14 with 1,5,7 with 1,4,5,7,10
$0.60 trifecta: 1,5,7 with 14 with 1,4,5,7,10 ($7.2)
What to say at the betting window: Woodbine, 10th race, $0.60 trifecta: 1,5,7 with 14 with 1,4,5,7,10
$0.60 trifecta: 14 with 1,4,5,7,10 with 1,5,7 ($7.2)
What to say at the betting window: Woodbine, 10th race, $0.60 trifecta: 14 with 1,4,5,7,10 with 1,5,7 ($7.2)
Good luck, and enjoy the race!