Making Money Betting the 2022 Plate Trial Stakes

Enjoying the thrill of Thoroughbred racing at Woodbine. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

The Plate Trial Stakes, which will be run Sunday, July 24 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, is an historic and prestigious race that is often used as a springboard to the Queen's Plate. The Trial offers a purse of $150,000 for 3-year-olds foaled in Canada, and will be featured on ABR’s “Path to the Plate” livestream. A field of nine will break from the gate at 4:19 p.m. ET.

weekend Television schedule

Friday, July 22: 1-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, July 23: 1-3:30 p.m. on FS1; 3:30-7 p.m. ET on FS2; 5-6 p.m. ET on CNBC; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, July 24: 1-3 p.m. ET on FS2; 3-6:30 p.m. ET on FS1; post time varies on TVG

At 1 1/8 miles and held on Woodbine’s Tapeta main track, the Plate Trial is the first test at an extended distance for most of the participants. It provides owners and trainers with a good understanding of how their youngsters will respond to the challenge of running further than ever before while carrying 126 pounds.

The best chance of success in the Plate Trial comes with having a horse that can relax early on in the race and conserve energy for the stretch run. While it is possible to win with a sprinter stretching out in distance, it's not easy, especially if two or more horses battle for the early lead. Looking for a horse who will be close to the pace but not necessarily in front is often the key to wagering success in this race.

In this year's edition of the Trial, many bettors will focus on #8 The Minkster, who is the morning line favorite at 2-1. There is a lot to like about him as he is the only undefeated colt in the field with three wins in as many starts. He has natural early speed but doesn't have to be the one setting the pace. He showed grit in his 2022 debut on June 12 at Woodbine in the Queenston Stakes as he battled determinedly, and his connections now hope that he can build off of that race. This son of English Channel has a pedigree that suggests he will be very comfortable at longer distances, and turf is right up his alley too. That sets him up nicely for the Breeders’ Stakes which is the third leg of the triple Canadian Triple Crown and is run on the expansive surface of the beautiful E.P. Taylor turf course at Woodbine at 1 ½ miles on Oct. 2.

I respect The Minkster a great deal, but my top pick in the race will be #4 Duke Of Love, the third choice of the morning line at 4-1. He has a strange habit of carrying his head to the side when running, especially down the stretch, but it hasn’t slowed him down so far. If he can ever overcome that quirk he is likely to get even better and will be a real force to be reckoned with throughout the Canadian Triple Crown series. I was impressed with his overall physique when I saw him before the Marine Stakes July 2 at Woodbine, a race where in which he finished a game second. He looks to have all the tools necessary to handle this nine-furlong distance comfortably.

Todd Pletcher will send #5 Causin’ Mayhem north from New York to try Canadian-foaled runners for the first time. He is light in experience with only two career races, but has shown an abundance of early speed that likely puts him in the lead on Sunday and he’s the second favorite in the morning line at 5-2. If he can relax he may be able to steal the race and never look back, so he could be a strong contender.

With a budget of $25 for betting this race, I will take a straight exacta for $10 with Duke of Love on top of The Minkster. I will also reverse the exacta, playing it for $5. I will finish up by playing a trifecta with Duke of Love on top with The Minkster and Causin’ Mayhem in the second and third spots for $5.

Wagering Strategy on a $25 Budget:

$10 Exacta 4 over 8 (total $10)

What to say at the betting window:

Woodbine, Race 7, $10 straight exacta, 4 over 8

$5 Exacta 8 over 4 (total $5)

What to say at the betting window:

Woodbine, Race 7, $5 straight exacta, 8 over 4 

$5 Trifecta 4 with 5,8 with 5,8 (total $10)

What to say at the betting window:

Woodbine, Race 7, $5 trifecta key 4 over 5,8 over 5,8

Good luck and enjoy the Plate Trial!

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