Who has the Inside Track for the Queen’s Plate
The 2012 Queens Plate takes place Sunday, June 24th, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. Queen Elizabeth herself may or may not show. She has been there in the past, but nonetheless the main attraction is the race itself.
With a field of 14 going to the gate, your guess is as good as mine as to who will pull off the victory. There seems to be only one horse on form that deserves the respect to be considered a favorite, and he didn’t run all that well in the Plate Trail because of illness.
Strait of Dover, since coming to Toronto last year, is a perfect four-for-four on the polytrack. The only glitch in his record came when he won a race and was later disqualified, and has steadily improved since. The last race he ran, he finally stretched-out to two turns (a mile and a sixteenth) in the Marine and won after a very confident ride by Justin Stein. The rumor is that people in his barn were very confident that he was going to win the Marine, so perhaps this horse good enough to win the Plate. My only hesitation is that I’m still questioning his conditioning a little, after not running in the Plate trial because of the illness.
As for the rest of the field, who knows which horse will show up on ‘This Given Sunday’. Inconsistency and inexperience pretty much sums-up the rest of the field. On the brighter side, I expect big payouts in this race. Oftentimes in the big races you can go with the hot jockey or trainer at the track, but this year at Woodbine seems to be the closest I’ve seen the leaders standings in years.
The top five jockeys are all separated by only nine wins – Husbands 47, Contreras 46, Emma-Jayne 42, Rosa Da Silva 29 and Stein 38. Without taking anything away from any other riders, these five are at the top of their game, riding the best horses and are competing day in and day out for every win, every race. Add into the Queen’s Plate mix last two Eclipse winning jockeys, Dominguez and Leparoux, and we’ve got ourselves a jockey’s race!
Alright, so you can’t narrow it down by picking horses or jockeys, so let’s look at the trainers. Maybe there are some trainers who stand out. Woodbine’s 2012 meet has Casse with 26 wins, Tiller 24 and Baker 21, so this race for leading trainer is tight as well. Other great trainers in the race include; Roger Attfield, he is only the most successful trainer in Canada’s history; Josie Carroll, the only female trainer to win the Queen’s Plate, twice, including last year’s champion Inglorious; Keogh, Doyle, Banach, Vella and Frostad have all been very successful throughout their careers, as has American trainer Darrin Miller, and the ALWAYS dangerous Todd Pletcher.
So that doesn’t help me out much either. So as I see it, my favorite for the race, Strait of Dover, is also a huge question mark as a result of the illness and lack of preparation time. Chances are that he is in top form for this race, but sometimes as we all know a cold can be hard to shake. This leaves me pondering another option – let’s pick by looking and watching the horses in the paddock and post parade.
Personally the first thing I tend to do in this situation is look to see what horse are dripping sweat, because this can mean a horse is already using his energy, and what I like to say “is already running his race”. So I throw them out. I like horses that are calm, cool, and professional, horses that a rider seems to get along with in post parade and is not acting up.
I’m expecting a big payout with a good chance of a horse that has not completely proven himself to run a big race, looking for a horse that will like the distance. To cover the chance of the favorite winning, I would also put a bet on Strait of Dover on top in a triactor.
It’s a very tough race to handicap, but is also a good chance for a big payout in a large field. This race should make for an exciting day at Woodbine, and Fort Erie Race Track will be awaiting the winner and the contenders in three weeks when they host The Prince Of Wales Stakes.
…..and that is the last word