How to bet the 2020 Queen's Plate Stakes (Sept. 12)

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

September 11th, 2020

Saturday’s $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine is Canada’s equivalent to the Kentucky Derby. Held every year without a miss since 1860, the historic event pits the best Canadian-bred 3-year-olds against each other racing 1 1/4 miles on Tapeta.

But the Queen’s Plate differs from the Kentucky Derby in one major way—it’s been much kinder to fillies. Colts and geldings still reach the winner’s circle more often than not, but fillies have accounted for an impressive 37 of the 160 renewals of the Queen’s Plate, including four editions since 2011. That’s a pretty consistent streak of success.

This year’s Queen’s Plate has attracted a pair of fillies to the 14-horse fray, and I’m keen to bet them both. In terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, #10 Curlin’s Voyage (5-2) is the fastest horse on paper. Whereas none of her rivals have exceeded the 91 plateau, Curlin’s Voyage has done so three times, most recently throwing down a 92 when claiming the Aug. 15 Woodbine Oaks racing 1 1/8 miles.

Curlin’s Voyage has demonstrated a clear affinity for the Woodbine Tapeta, and her late-running triumph in the Woodbine Oaks was significant on multiple levels. Not only did she rally boldly along the rail on the far turn—showing no hesitation racing through tight quarters—she also posted a final time of 1:50.04 that easily bettered the 1:50.61 clocking recorded by males in the Plate Trial S. on the same day.

#2 Merveilleux (10-1), who rallied belatedly to finish third in the Woodbine Oaks, is also worth a long look. She was outrun early and ran into tight quarters at the top of the stretch, but ultimately split horses and finished with determination to finish just 2 1/4 lengths behind Curlin’s Voyage. The daughter of Paynter has cranked out a couple of fast workouts since then, including 5 furlongs in :58 2/5, and could show improved tactical speed in the Queen’s Plate.

#12 Clayton (2-1), #6 Halo Again (5-1), and #9 Dotted Line (8-1) were separated by half a length when finishing 1-2-3 in a slow-paced renewal of the Plate Trial. Clayton might hold a slight edge, considering he rallied from behind the modest splits to prevail, but I’ll try to beat them all for the purpose of exotic wagers.

Let’s play Curlin’s Voyage and Merveilleux on top of a trifecta ticket with the Plate Trial runners underneath.

$2 trifecta: 2,10 with 2,6,9,10,12 with 2,6,9,10,12 ($48)

Good luck!