(Correction, re – Il Malocchio is in Florida, not New Orleans)
Nominations for the Canadian Triple Crown, which gets underway August 22 at Woodbine with the Queen’s Plate, are due Feb. 1, but it is never too early for CanadianThoroughbred.com to take a look at the very early contenders for the Plate and Woodbine Oaks.
Some of the horses listed on the CT Top 15 may not be among the early nominations but, as with other stakes race, horses can be supplemented leading up to the race.
Canada’s probable Champion 2-Year-Old Male of 2020 GRETZKY THE GREAT has posted his first workout as a 3-year-old and tops the Plate contenders at this time. The Grade 1 winning son of Nyquist worked three furlongs in 37 1/5 at Casse Training Centre on Jan. 13.
Owned by Gary Barber and Eclipse Thoroughbreds and bred by Anderson Farms Ontario, Gretzky the Great won the Summer Stakes (G1) in 2020 at one mile on the grass with an 82 Beyer Speed Figure and the Soaring Free Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on turf. He also won his maiden on the Tapeta at 6 furlongs and ended his season with a sixth-place finish in the Grade 21 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
American based SMILEY SOBOTKA, a son of Brody’s Cause – Dancethewayyouare by Mineshaft is training forwardly at Gulfstream Park for trainer Dale Romans and the Albaugh Family Stables’ colt was a close second in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs Nov. 20 with a 78 Beyer Figure. A winner at 1 1/16 miles in his second career race, Smiley Sobotka was bred by Dave Clancy’s Track West Racing Inc and was a $185,000 yearling purchase.
Clancy’s Track West also is the breeder of Coronation Futurity winner STEPHEN (Constitution – Naughty Holiday by Harlan’s Holiday) who won his maiden in the 1 1/8 mile Futurity for owners Al and Bill Ulwelling and trainer Kevin Attard. A $170,000 2-year-old purchase, Stephen earned a 75 Beyer Figure in his Futurity win and he is currently wintering at the former Winview Farm in Caledon East.
Also to be noted, Clancy’s own 3-year-old GIANT WATERS finished third in the Coronation Futurity for trainer Dan Vella and is a Plate hopeful.
Sam-Son Farms’ TIO MAGICO led for most of the way in the Coronation Futurity and landed second 1 1/4 lengths behind Stephen. The dark bay colt is by Uncle Mo and won his maiden at 1 1/16 miles. He is trained by Gail Cox.
The Ulwelling’s also have impressive debut winner HADDASSAH who was bred by the owners. The gelding is by Air Force Won from Lady Haddassah, by Whywhywhy and he won a 1 mile and 70 yard race Nov. 1 with a 79 Beyer Figure.
MASTER SPY (Silent Name (Jpn) – Smart Catomine by Smart Strike) won the Cup & Saucer on the grass at 2 and was fourth in the Coronation Futurity for Tracy Farmer and trainer Mark Casse. He was bred by Bernard and Karen McCormack.
Fillies figure again on the Plate list. DREAMING OF DREW is in training in Florida and the Speightster filly won the princess Elizabeth Stakes last fall on the pace for trainer Barbara Minshall. IL MALOCCHIO, second in the Princess Elizabeth, is in training in Florida with trainer Ken McPeek and the Souper Speedy filly won the Victorian Queen Stakes on turf for owner and breeder Frank Meli and trainer Martin Drexler.
CURLIN’S CATCH recently won her maiden at Gulfstream Park for trainer Mark Casse and CAFE SOCIETY (Empire Maker) was fourth in the Grade 2 Demoiselle stakes in New York in December for trainer Shug McGaughey. JILLI MARIE, undefeated in 2 starts at 2 and winner of the South Ocean Stakes, has left for the south to get ready for her 2021 season for trainer Katerina Vassilieva.
More males on the Plate contenders list include Frost King Stakes winner RED RIVER REBEL (Reload) for Denny Andrews and Northern Dawn Stable, trainer Rachel Halden, PERFECT CRIME for Colebrook Farms, KEEP GRINDING (Tizway) for Joshua Attard, CANDY OVERLOAD (Reload), WEYBURN (Pioneerofthe Nile), LOMAKI’S GEM (Gemologist)and impressive debut winner CRUDEN BAY (Big Screen).
Queen’s Plate Top 15
1. GRETZKY THE GREAT
2. SMILEY SOBOTKA
4. TIO MAGIC
6. GIANT WATERS
7. MASTER SPY
8. DREAMING OF DREW – Oaks
10. CURLIN’S CATCH – Oaks
11. RED RIVER REBEL
12. IL MALOCCHIO – Oaks
13. CAFE SOCIETY – Oaks
14. PERFECT CRIME
15. LOMAKI’S GEM