Just 2 weeks to the WOODBINE OAKS, the $500,000 classic for 3-year-old Canadian-bred fillies and, as it is custom to say when a crop of sophomores is a mish-mash of horses who are very early in their careers, it is ‘wide open’.
The Plate is similar, although there are a few more contenders for the win in the 1 1/4 mile classic than there seem to be in the Oaks.
Coincidentally, CHIEFSWOOD STABLES would probably have the favourites for both races with WEYBURN, their top colt who has never raced in Canada, and THIRD DRAFT, a good filly who just won on the grass at Saratoga on July 17. Weyburn races next in the July 31 Jim Dandy at Saratoga and should be run well, the Travers (G1) would be next.
So who are the leading horses for the two races?
MUNNYFOR RO ran super in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes, second behind the US bred Our Flash Drive and she has won at 1 1/8 miles on the grass. She is very strong for Raroma Stable and trainer Kevin Attard.
CURLIN’S CATCH, although much happier racing on dirt for US stable Breeze Easy, ran well enough in the Fury Stakes behind speedster Lorena to warrant high billing only since she has won a two-turn stakes race this year. LORENA is undefeated and won the important Fury Stakes at seven furlongs but her style and breeding are big questions for success at the 1 1/8 mile Oaks distance.
And who knows if MISS MARIE (Carpe Diem), who surprised in a maiden race to win with a big Beyer Figure of 81, will make her third career start in the Oaks? Trained by Breeda Hayes, the filly’s win came on July 10 from far off the pace.
TOP WOODBINE OAKS CONTENDERS from Canadian Thoroughbred
*not including possible supplements
- MUNNYFOR RO – 2nd Selene (G3)
- CURLIN’S CATCH – Third in Fury Stakes, won Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs
- LORENA – undefeated, by Souper Speedy, all sprint wins
- THIRD DRAFT – won at Saratoga July 17
- MISS MARIE – big Beyer of 81 in maiden win
- EMMELINE – second to Miss Marie
- IL MALOCCHIO – 2nd Princess Elizabeth in 2020, soft 4th in Fury
- JILLI MARIE – like Lorena, unbeaten in sprints
- HIDDEN IDENTITY – another fast one
- LADY MOONSHINE – maiden
*Possible supplement ASTROLOGICAL (second in Fury Stakes), would be a solid contender
The Plate group is modest behind graded stakes winner WEYBURN, who has been at the top of the chart all year but has never raced in Canada and is not likely to come for the Plate.
But what is intriguing about the Plate list is that 5 of the 15 on CT’s list are trained by KEVIN ATTARD, who seeks his first Plate win.
His improving sophomores H C Holiday and Harlan Estate are in a good package with Stephen, who must still be considered a top contender, Haddassah and the filly Munnyfor Ro. Oh, and his dad Tino trains his son’s Keep Grinding.
Harlan Estate passed a good test last week in a 1 1/8 mile race on Tapeta, winning by a nose. It was a bizarre race, however, as the runners were hard held early, went very slow on a slow surface and then did not finish very fast.
CT’s TOP 15 QUEEN’S PLATE CONTENDERS
*1. WEYBURN (Pioneerofthe Nile) – Expected to race July 31 at Saratoga in Jim Dandy. Has never raced at Woodbine or on all-weather surface. Not expected to come to Plate. Second by a neck in the Pegasus Stakes to Mandaloun, 93 Beyer missed Belmont Stakes due to fever, worked 5 furlongs June 6 at Belmont 59.00, a bullet move, 4th Wood Memorial, 85 Beyer, won Gotham, 95
2. STEPHEN (Constitution) – Coronation Futurity winner had big workout in 1:12 4/5 as he prepares for Plate Trial. 6th in season debut against older horses on July 3 when early pace was very slow
3. HOMBRE (Tourist) – Big maiden win and 83 Beyer Figure on July 4 for trainer Barclay Tagg
4. HARLAN ESTATE (Kantharos) – Steadily ground out allowance win at 1 1/8 miles last week in modest time
5. DANCE SOME MO (Uncle Mo) – Led late in Harlan Estate’s allowance win, missed by a nose
6. KEEP GRINDING (Tizway) – Well named, tries hard, second in Grade 3 Marine
7. SAFE CONDUCT (Bodemeister) – Tried Grade 1 Belmont Derby on ‘off’ turf, fought rider, faded
8. TIO MAGICO (Uncle Mo) – Front running type sped to big win in Queenston at seven furlongs
9. HADDASSAH (Air Force Blue) Set slow pace in Grade 3 Marine, not his preferred style
10. TIDAL FORCES (Malibu Moon) Lost for first time in Grade 3 Marine when he forced slow pace, not his preferred style
11. H C HOLIDAY (Ami’s Holiday) 4th in recent allowance/optional to older horses with 81 Beyer Figure
12. AVOMAN (Old Forester) Finished ahead of H C Holiday in allowance, first try at route distance
13. RIPTIDE ROCK (Point of Entry) Sizzled in recent sprint win, 88 Beyer Figure, route distance a big question
14. MUNNYFOR RO (Munnings) – Top rated filly for Oaks
15. TRIGGER’S BAY (Sligo Bay) Maiden winner for Lawrence Cores, owner of 2020 Plate winner Mighty Heart
*possible supplement, TAKE A CHANCE, maiden winner with 73 Beyer Figure
2021: Canadian-bred 3-Year-Olds By Highest Beyer Speed Figure earned
Courtesy Daily Racing Form
Weyburn 95, 93
Safe Conduct 87
Riptide Rock 88, 80
Tio Magico 86, 76
Keep Grinding 84
Candy Overload 84
Hidden Identity 84(filly)
Gretzky the Great 82
Lorena 81 (filly)
Miss Marie (81) (filly)
Dance Some Mo – 80, 78
Curlin’s Catch 80 (filly)
Third Draft 80 (filly)
Harlan Estate 78, 76
Tidal Forces 77
All Canadian 77
Munnyfor Ro 76 (filly)
Tio Magico 76