Homeracing

#QP14: Previewing the Possible Queen's Plate Field

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

July 2nd, 2014

2014 marks the 155th Anniversary of The Queen's Plate - the first jewel in Canada’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and the longest continuously run stakes race in North America (the other two races are the Prince of Wales Stakes and the Breeders' Stakes). The race is restricted to Canadian-bred 3yo runners and is contested at 1-1/4 mi. on Woodbine's Polytrack.

Here are today's notes from the Woodbine publicity office...

CHANGING OF THE 'GUARD': MORENO TO RIDE; BLINKERS OFF

Last time out, in a 1 1/8-miles allowance tilt, Athenian Guard, trained by Mike DePaulo for A&L Racing Stables, looked well on his way to victory at the top of the lane when disaster struck.

"Justin Stein was on him and at the quarter pole he was going to the lead, racing in and around horses, and just as Justin was going to put the stick on him, he ducked in. I don't know if he shied from the stick, but that's what it looked like," explained DePaulo.

Stein came off Athenian Guard and ducked under the rail to safety while the horse was soon gathered up by the outrider.

Fortunately, both horse and rider walked away from the incident and will be back to race again in the Queen's Plate – though on different paths. Stein has been named aboard One Destiny, while Omar Moreno takes over on Athenian Guard.

"The horse didn't fall, but he stumbled a little, righted himself and finished the race. He got a good mile out of the race anyway," said DePaulo. "We'll take his blinkers off and that should settle him for the Plate."
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In his final prep for the Plate, Athenian Guard breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 working in company with the well-regarded Pender Harbour who finished third in the 2011 Queen's Plate before taking the remaining two-thirds of the Triple Crown.

"They went head and head with no issues. Pender was on the inside and Athenian Guard was on the outside, with Omar on him, and they went together the whole work," said DePaulo.  "I was hoping some of Pender's ability would rub off and that Athenian Guard might learn a little bit from an old pro. They both needed the work and it was a good fitness work for both of them."

A win in the Plate would be a meaningful one for DePaulo.

"It would complete the Triple Crown for me as we've won the Prince of Wales twice and the Breeders' once. This is the biggest race for Canadians and it would be great to win it," said DePaulo. "His last race is hard to go by, but I think he was going to win fairly comfortably. Hopefully he can improve again and be right in the picture and get a big piece of it."

​QUEEN'S PLATE DRAW AVAILABLE LIVE ON WEBSITE

A reminder that Thursday's Queen's Plate morning draw (9:30 am ET) from the Woodbine walking ring will be streamed live at www.queensplate.com.  Further information and event details for Plate day are available there.

This year's draw will again be "draft" style, meaning the owners and trainers of each runner will choose their horse's post position. The order of selection will be chosen by a "pill pull"

WEATHER FORECAST

The weather forecast for Queen’s Plate day in Toronto is mostly sunny skies with a high of 28 degrees Celsius (83 degrees Fahrenheit).
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