Vaughan Boosts Field to 13; Channel Maker Looks to Score



Aurora Way / Julien Leparoux / Stu Simon / Chiefswood Stable
Channel Maker / Rafael Hernandez / Bill Mott / Joey Gee Thoroughbreds, Wachtel Stable & Gary Barber
Guy Caballero / Jose Ortiz / Catherine Day Phillips / Sean & Dorothy Fitzhenry
Holy Helena / Luis Contreras / James Jerkens / Stronach Stables
Inflexibility / Javier Castellano / Chad Brown / Klaravich Stables, Inc. & William H. Lawrence
King and His Court / Gary Boulanger / Mark Casse / Wachtel Stable & Gary Barber
Malibu Secret / Alan Garcia / Malcolm Pierce / Sam-Son Farm
Megagray / Jesse Campbell / Mike Keogh / Gustav Schickedanz
Spirit of Caledon / Jerome Lermyte / Pat Parente / Copper Water Thoroughbred Company Ltd., Centennial Farms (Niagara) Inc. & Pat Parente
State of Honor / Patrick Husbands / Mark Casse / Conrad Farms
Tiz a Slam / Eurico Da Silva / Roger Attfield / Chiefswood Stable
Vaughan / Slade Callaghan / John Mattine / RCC Racing Stable Ltd.
Watch Me Strut / David Moran / Catherine Day Phillips / Kingfield Racing Stable, Ltd. & George Philip Ledson

Addition of Vaughan Brings Probable Plate Field To 13

The well-bred maiden Vaughan is a late, but welcome, addition to the 158th running of The Queen’s Plate for trainer John Mattine and owner RCC Racing Stable Ltd. A victory in Sunday’s Queen’s Plate would mark the first score by a maiden since Scatter the Gold in 2000.

Mattine recalls another famous maiden Plate winner, Golden Choice, who captured Canada’s race in 1986 when the conditioner was helping his father, Tony, saddle In The East to be fourth. He knows Vaughan will be a price on Sunday, but he has faith in his rising star.

“We’re a maiden running in The Queen’s Plate, but it’s been done before. Golden Choice was actually in the barn next to us back in 1986 with trainer Mike Tammaro,” recalled Mattine.

With just two starts to his name, Vaughan finished seventh on debut when sprinting six furlongs on the Woodbine main on June 4. He came back just two weeks later and improved to be third when travelling 1 1/16-miles over a yielding turf course.

“Everybody might say it’s a stretch but he’s improved each start. The first start he walked out of the gate and the second start was an improvement. If he improves his numbers a little bit more he’ll be there,” said Mattine.

Formerly named Conquest Zipped Up, Mattine and company purchased the City Zip colt, out of the 2010 broodmare of the year Destroy, in November at the Conquest Stables dispersal sale.

“We got him for $17,000 at the dispersal sale,” noted Mattine. “We changed the name to Vaughan. I grew up in Vaughan and I like the new name a lot.”

What he lacks in racing experience, he more than makes up for in pedigree being a sibling of multiple graded stakes winner Smokey Fire and the multiple stakes winners Utterly Cool and Ghost Fleet.

“The second dam is Eternal Search, I don’t need to say anything more,” noted Mattine of Eternal Search who won a Sovereign Award as the Canadian Champion Sprinter for 1981 as well as being named Canadian Champion Older Mare in 1982 and 1983. “When we bought him, the only page they showed was the first dam but if you look a little bit deeper it’s a very nicely bred horse, bred by the late Mel Lawson.”

Mott To Saddle Channel Maker Seeking First Plate Score

Hall of Fame trainers Roger Attfield and Bill Mott are longtime neighbours at Florida’s Payson Park, where each has a substantial string each winter.

But while Attfield will be looking for a record ninth Queen’s Plate win when he sends out Tiz a Slam here Sunday, Mott will be contesting the Plate for the first time when he saddles Channel Maker for the 158th running of the 1 ¼ mile showpiece for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

“Obviously, it will be good just to participate in a race like that,” said Mott, speaking from Saratoga where he watched Channel Maker breeze four furlongs in :49.87 on Thursday in his final tune-up for the $1 million Queen’s Plate.

“I think I’ve seen pictures of Roger Attfield,” continued Mott. “He’s won more of them than anybody, hasn’t he? I’ve seen him walk in there with his top hat and tails. Is that a requirement for saddling one in there?”

While Attfield will be appearing in his usual sartorial Queen’s Plate splendour here on Sunday, Mott is unlikely to don a morning suit for his debut in the Queen’s Plate paddock.

But Mott is definitely not here for the scenery or any fashion props as he will be looking to complete a first-out trifecta of Woodbine’s three top races after winning the 1985 Canadian International with Lassigny and the inaugural Woodbine Mile with Geri in 1997.

“He ran a pretty good race up there“, said Mott, who has been training Channel Maker since March and has sent him postward three times. ‘He got a good run. Even though he was quite a bit wide, he came running.”

That effort came in the 1 1/16 mile Marine Stakes, a Grade 3 in which Channel Maker was beaten ¾ lengths by American-bred Souper Tapit. That start was the gelding’s first on a surface other than turf.

Rafael Hernandez, who rode Channel Maker for the first time in the Marine, will be back aboard after also having partnered Plate Trial winner Guy Caballero and the promising Aurora Way in the last starts prior to the big race.

Hernadez won the Queen’s Plate with Shaman Ghost in 2015, his first mount in the feature.

Attfield, meanwhile, has had his tribulations with Tiz a Slam this year but is bringing the colt into the Queen’s Plate off a close-fourth place finish under Eurico Rosa da Silva in the 1 1/8 mile Plate Trial.

“It’s been a question of whether I can bring him where I want him to be,” said Attfield. “I’m very happy where he is right now.”

Rosa da Silva, who won consecutive Plates with Eye of the Leopard in 2009 and Big Red Mike in 2010, has the call on Tiz a Slam. Da Silva also won aboard Plate entrant Watch Me Strut and piloted third-place Marine finisher Malibu Secret in his last start.

Wednesday’s Queen’s Plate Draw Available Via Livestream

Wednesday’s draw for the 158th running of The Queen’s Plate will be streamed live on starting at 9:45AM. As always, featured news, race replays, history, facts, exclusive interviews and more surrounding the Plate can be found on the official website of The Queen’s Plate at