Mark Casse was at the Royal Ascot meeting on Friday to saddle La Coronel to a fifth-place run in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes.

Next Sunday, Casse will be at Woodbine to watch King and His Court and State of Honor compete in the 158th running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate, the 1 ¼ race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

King and His Court and State of Honor both prepped five furlongs on the Tapeta surface on Friday morning, with the former going in 1:00.60 and the latter in :59.60.

King and His Court, with usual partner Gary Boulanger in the irons, shadowed barn mate Belle de Nuit, a 6-year-old mare who has scored twice under allowance terms and also was clocked in 1:00.60.

Regular rider Patrick Husbands was aboard State of Honor, who broke off behind allowance-winning 4-year-old colt Tour de Force (1:00.20) and passed that stablemate late while under a strong hold.

“They both worked well; both jocks were very happy with them,” said assistant trainer David Adams. “They galloped out okay. It wasn’t supposed to be a strong gallop-out. They’re fit enough.”

King and His Court and State of Honor were the 2-3 finishers in the June 11 Plate Trial, a 1 1/8 mile race which was captured by upsetter Guy Caballero.

Purchased privately last fall from owner/trainer Alex Patykewich, King and His Court went on to win the 1 1/8 mile Coronation Futurity and 1 1/16 mile Display Stakes and be named Canada’s champion 2-year-old male for owners Adam Wachtel and Gary Barber.

After a pair of disappointing efforts south of the border this year, King and His Court returned to his stomping grounds and won the 1 1/16 mile Wando before closing to be beaten just a half-length in the Plate Trial.

State of Honor, owned and bred by Manfred and Penny Conrad, finished second in the Coronation Futurity but blossomed in Florida this winter, finishing second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby.

Those efforts earned State of Honor a spot in the Kentucky Derby, where he set the pace before faltering to finish 19th of 20. The colt also showed the way early in the Plate Trial but gave way late while beaten just three-quarters of a length.

Casse will be looking for his second Queen’s Plate win after capturing the 2014 running with Lexie Lou, who also was purchased privately by Barber.

Husbands rode Lexie Lou and also piloted Wando to win the 2003 Queen’s Plate and the Canadian Triple Crown. Boulanger took the Queen’s Plate with the filly Dancethruthedawn in 2001.


Her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will be the Guest of Honour at the 158th running of The Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday, July 2, 2017. The Lieutenant Governor will present the trophy to the winning owner.