Toronto, ON – Jim Dandy Stable’s Jiggs Coz, unbeaten in two outings this year, has been established at the 9-5 morning line favourite in a field of nine Canadian-foaled three-year-olds for Sunday’s $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine.
Post time for Canada’s most famous horse race is 4:37 pm ET, with TSN nationally televising a special one-hour live presentation from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. All starters carry 126 pounds in the mile and one- quarter classic, with the winner receiving $600,000.
Representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the 148th edition of the Plate, the oldest continuously-run stakes race in North America, will be the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable James K. Bartleman.
Once again this year, the selection order for post positions was drawn first, via the traditional ‘pill-pull’, followed by the choosing of post positions by the connections for each horse, a system which has been in place for the Queen’s Plate since 1998.
Jiggs Coz, (post 6, 9-5), trained by Sid Attard for Hamilton’s Mel Lawson, impressively won the Queenston Stakes on May 5 and the Plate Trial on June 3, tallying by three and one-quarter lengths in each. A homebred son of Cozzene-Young Brodie, the strapping grey colt will be ridden by David Clark, who won Queen’s Plates in 1981 with Fiddle Dancer Boy and in 1985 aboard La Lorgnette.
“He’s coming up (to the race) very good,” said Attard, who selected post six with the third choice. “We did exactly the same training (schedule) up to the Plate as leading up to the Trial (working him four furlongs four days before the race). I’m not sure whether there will be more pace in the Plate (than the Trial). We’ll see. I’m not worried. If it’s close, he’s going to finish. You can do whatever you want with this horse. I don’t think there will be any problem getting the distance.”
Trainer Mark Casse will send out Melnyk Racing Stable’s Marchfield (post 7, 3-1), a homebred product of A.P. Indy-Pico Teneriffe. Marchfield, who’ll be ridden by Patrick Husbands, finished second to Jiggs Coz in the Trial. Marchfield’s connections won the draw to select the first post position and chose post seven.
“We need some pace (in the race),” said Casse. “He just goes and goes and goes. The distance won’t be a problem for him. But he needs the pace to be softened up a bit for him to make his best run.”
Trainer Kevin Attard sends out a pair of hopefuls for Knob Hill Stable and the Estate of Steve Stavro in Leonnatus Anteas and Alezzandro. Leonnatus Anteas (post 8, 6-1) was crowned last year’s champion two-year-old colt in Canada when he won the Vandal, Cup and Saucer and Coronation Futurity in an unbeaten campaign which netted $415,179.
The chestnut son of Stormy Atlantic has had only one start this year, a closing second place finish in a seven furlong contest against older horses. He’ll be ridden, as usual, by Jono Jones, whose best Plate finish came in 2004 aboard favoured A Bit O’ Gold, when finishing second to Niigon.
Attard chose second in selecting post eight for Leonnatus Anteas. “We’re looking for a stalking trip so I just figured an outside post would be good to see what other people are doing and stalk from there. He’s a class horse and the champion of last year and he should run well.”
Homebred Alezzandro (post 4, 15-1) has had only two career starts, both this year, and finished third to Jiggs Coz and Marchfield in the Plate Trial, after setting a slow pace throughout the mile and one-eighth test. The son of High Yield will be ridden for the first time by Todd Kabel, a two-time Plate winner (Regal Discovery in 1995, Scatter The Gold in 2000).
Peachtree Stable’s Twilight Meteor (post 5, 4-1), trained by Todd Pletcher, was a $150,000 (U.S.) Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling purchase and has won three of seven career outings. The Kinghaven Farms-bred was established as the Queen’s Plate Winterbook 3-1 favourite in March after winning the Hallandale Beach Stakes on the grass at Gulfstream Park in February.
The chestnut son of Smart Strike will be ridden by John Velazquez, who teamed with Pletcher last year to finish second in the Plate on Sterwins. Pletcher won the 1998 Plate with Melnyk’s Archers Bay.
Shadwell Stable’s Daaher (post 2, 15-1), trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, will be supplemented to the Plate for $25,000 (which includes the $10,000 entry fee). With only two lifetime starts, he’ll be trying to duplicate the feat of his sire, Awesome Again, who won the 1997 Queen’s Plate after only two previous starts. The $375,000 (U.S.) Keeneland yearling purchase, a full brother to Frank Stronach’s multiple Grade 1-winning filly, Spun Sugar, who earned over $900,000 in her career, will be ridden by 21-year-old Alan Garcia, one of the leading jockeys in New York this year.
D. Morgan Firestone’s homebred Mike Fox (post 9, 12-1) has won three of his seven career starts and comes into the Plate fresh from an allowance score on May 23. Trained by Ian Black, the son of Giant’s Causeway-Alexis will be ridden by 2005 and 2006 Sovereign Award winner (as Canada’s top apprentice) and 2005 Eclipse Award winner (as North America’s top apprentice) Emma-Jayne Wilson. She’s seeking to become the first female rider to win the Plate.
Graph-Racing LLC’s Cobrador (post 1, 20-1), fourth to Jiggs Coz in the Plate Trial, will be ridden by Emile Ramsammy for trainer Richard Scherer. The stakes-placed Frank Stronach-bred son of El Prado will be ridden by two-time Plate winner Emile Ramsammy, who scored in the 1996 edition with Victor Cooley and last year with Edenwold.
Include Us (post 3, 20-1), co-owned by Mickey Canino, Bill Werner and trainer Roger Attfield, looks to become the first maiden since Scatter The Gold in 2000 and before him, Golden Choice in 1986, to win the Plate. Include Us will be ridden by Robert Landry, who won the 2004 Plate on Niigon.
The Queen’s Plate is the first leg in the Canadian Triple Crown. The second leg is the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, at one and three-sixteenths miles on July 15 at Fort Erie, while the $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes, at one mile and one-half on the grass, August 5 at Woodbine, comprises the third and final leg. There have been seven Triple Crown winners since the concept was inaugurated in 1959, the last being Wando in 2003.