It has been a while since the latest Queen’s Plate update and Top 15 from Canadian Thoroughbred as the Woodbine 2021 season had its start postponed and remains in limbo.
The Queen’s Plate is scheduled for August 22 and the first Plate ‘prep’ stakes race, the 7 furlong Queenston Stakes, was scheduled for May 30 followed by the 1 1/16 mile Marine Stakes on June 27.
Currently the Ontario ‘Stay at Home’ order is set to end on May 20 and if it does, there has been some hope that Woodbine can get underway not long after. It is unclear whether the stakes schedule for the Plate (and Oaks) prep race stakes will have to be adjusted, or of the Plate has to be moved once again.
Woodbine horses have been in steady training since March 1 and thus, most should be good and fit by the time racing begins.
The top Plate contender remains the same since March, WEYBURN, who scored that upset win in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct and then landed fourth in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial. The Chiefswood Stable homebred is trained by James Jerkens who said the colt is being pointed to the June 5 Belmont Stakes.
GRETZKY THE GREAT, the Champion 2-year-old in Canada for 2020, stays at #2, although the colt appears to have distance limitations to do his best. He recently had a workout in the slop at Churchill Downs, his first prep since he was fifth in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks.
Coronation Futurity winner STEPHEN is #3 and he has been training all spring at Woodbine for trainer Kevin Attard and owners Bill and Al Ulwelling.
Moving up the list is SAFE CONDUCT, the Bodemeister colt who impressively won a grass allowance race at Belmont on May 2 with an 87 Beyer Speed Figure according to Daily Racing Form. Owned by Robert Vukovich’s WellSpring Stables and trained by Phil Serpe, Safe Conduct has two grass wins in four starts. He was bred by Toronto’s Mitchell Kursner.
New to the list is the impressive debut winner TIDAL FORCES, who has returned to Woodbine for trainer Gail Cox. The Sam-Son Farms’ Malibu Moon colt won a 1 1/18 miles turf race on April 10 while green, and he put up a 70 Beyer Figure.
Also the Tourist colt HOMBRE had a good finish in his much-anticipated debut on April 24 at Belmont. The sale-topping colt (CTHS 2019) was fifth beaten 4 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/16 mile turf race for owner Rob Cudney and trainer Barclay Tagg, posting a 76 Beyer Figure.
There are many horses who could sneak into the list at any time, but waiting for them to get a race in 2021 is the key.
CANADIAN THOROUGHBRED’S TOP 15 – May 5, 2021
1. WEYBURN – April 29 workout, 6 fur. 1:13 4/5, 4th Wood memorial, 85 Beyer, won Gotham, 95; Belmont Stakes next?
2. GRETZKY THE GREAT – 48 flat workout at Churchill Downs May 3; 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. SAFE CONDUCT –won turf allowance May 2, 87 Beyer Figure, second in 2021 debut, 1 1/8 miles turf, 75 Beyer Figure.
5. TIO MAGICO – 5th turf race, 68 Beyer, at Gulfstream April 11, 3rd Gulfstream allowance race, 1 mile dirt, 76 Beyer Figure
6. HADDASSAH – training in Ontario
7. TIDAL FORCES – Sam-Son Farms’ homebred won his debut at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Gulfstream with a 70 Beyer Figure
8. RIPTIDE ROCK – 4th May 1, allowance Oaklawn, 78 Beyer, 5th as favourite Oaklawn allowance Mar. 5, 65 Beyer/ 2nd allowance Oaklawn Park, 80 Beyer Figure
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. HOMBRE – Closing fifth in a smart debut at Belmont.
13. TRUFFLE KING – training in Ontario
14. CRUDEN BAY – training in Ontario
15. RED RIVER REBEL – training in Ontario