The Queen’s Plate is still five months away, Aug. 22, so a lot can happen between now and then.
On our early contenders’ list there has been some movement as April approaches and some hopefuls are racing in the U.S. this weekend.
Dropped from our list was SMILEY SOBOTKA, who unfortunately had his second consecutive poor showing this winter. The colt was well beaten in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks on Tapeta Mar. 27. In that same race, one of the top hopefuls for the Plate, GRETZKY THE GREAT, had a nice trip early in the 1 1/8 mile race, moved to the lead into the stretch but then faded to be fifth. It is a little too soon to drop this Nyquist colt from the Plate list, although he will have to prove that longer distances are okay for him.
The filly CURLIN’S CATCH has been dropped but is still a possible Woodbine Oaks contender. The filly is taking a shot in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes on April 3 at Keeneland.
WEYBURN is taking his next step to a possible run at a Triple Crown race in the U.S. when he takes part in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 3. The Chiefswood Stable colt earned a whopping 95 Beyer Figure when he battled back to win the Gotham Stakes (G3) and a good showing in this race will no doubt keep him in the U.S.
Sam-Son Farms’ TIO MAGICO had a solid season debut when third in an allowance race on dirt at Gulfstream for trainer Gail Cox. The Uncle Mo colt was second in the Coronation Futurity last year to Stephen.
Trainer Phil Serpe is excited about his Ontario-bred, US-based colt SAFE CONDUCT, bred by Mitchell Kursner. The Bodemeister colt ran well in his season debut at 1 1/8 miles on turf to be second. That was his first race since his maiden win in August.
After the top half-dozen horses the list is a mish-mash of promising types, the majority who have yet to start in 2021.
DERZKII sneaks into the list at 15 based on his two wins to end 2020.
CANADIAN THOROUGHBRED’S TOP 15
1. WEYBURN – Wood Memorial (G1) up next, Won Grade 3 Gotham Stakes March 6, 95 Beyer Speed Figure
2. GRETZKY THE GREAT – 5th Jeff Ruby Stakes (G3), 73 Beyer Speed Figure, Turfway Park, third in John Battaglia Stakes, Turfway Feb. 26, 83 Beyer Speed Figure
3. STEPHEN – training in Ontario
4. TIO MAGICO – 3rd Gulfstream allowance race, 1 mile dirt, 76 Beyer Figure
5. SAFE CONDUCT – second in 2021 debut, 1 1/8 miles turf, 75 Beyer Figure
6. HADDASSAH – training in Ontario
7. RIPTIDE ROCK – 5th as favourite Oaklawn allowance Mar. 5, 65 Beyer/ 2nd allowance Oaklawn Park, 80 Beyer Figure
8. GIANT WATERS – training in Florida
9. MASTER SPY – 2nd workout, 35 for 3 furlongs Mar. 6 Casse Training Centre, 37 3/5
10. DREAMING OF DREW – Oaks, working at Winding Oaks (Woodbine Oaks)
11. KEEP GRINDING – training in Ontario
12. TRUFFLE KING – training in Ontario
13. CRUDEN BAY – training in Ontario
14. RED RIVER REBEL – training in Ontario
15. DERZKEII – 2 time winner, training at Woodbine