100 YEARS AGO – 1912 HERESY
The victory by Heresy in the 1912 King’s Plate marked the first time that members of the Royal family attended the running of the “fifty guineas”, the original prize bequeathed by the family for the Canadian horse race. Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and Princess Patricia watched as Albert and Simon Dyment’s brown three-year-old colt Heresy strolled to a three-length winner as the 6 to 5 favourite.
The win was a bittersweet one for the Dyment family as John Dyment, the trainer of Heresy, passed away suddenly only five months before his Plate victory.
It was John Dyment who went to Missouri in the United States to pick out Hera, a mare by Hamburg, in foal to *Sain, and thus carrying the Plate winner. Heresy sired the 1921 Plate winner Herendesy.
50 YEARS AGO – 1962 FLAMING PAGE
You could consider Flaming Page one of the greatest female thoroughbreds, on and off the track, in Canadian racing history.
Windfields Farms’ homebred daughter of Bull Page not only became the first filly to win the Canadian Oaks and the Queen’s Plate, but she out-produced her own ability in the breeding shed.
Flaming Page went unsold at E.P. Taylor’s yearling auction at $20,000. Trained by Horatio Luro, the sizy bay was a stakes winner as a juvenile and then finished second to the top American filly Cicada in the Kentucky Oaks.
She went on to romp in the Oaks and then, in front of the Queen Mother, defeated the boys in the Plate as part of a Windfields entry with runner-up Choperion.
After retiring due to injury, Flaming Page produced just three foals, but they were all special foals; Fleur, the dam of The Minstrel; Nijinsky II, England’s Horse Of The Century, and Minsky, a champion at two in Ireland.
25 YEARS AGO – 1987 MARKET CONTROL
The 1987 Plate was supposed to be a coronation for the fast and fabulous colt Afleet. The brilliant son of Mr. Prospector, had burst on to the Ontario racing scene less than three months earlier and had romped in four of his five races, including the Plate Trial. Along with his fabulous filly and entrymate, One from Heaven, Afleet was 3 to 5 in the field of 14.
However it was a short-coupled, pudgy bay colt by Foolish Pleasure named Market Control who blew past Afleet in the stretch, winning the 128th Plate as the unheralded part of a three-horse Kinghaven Farms entry.
Market Control, ridden by little-known Ken Skinner, had made his final Plate prep run at Detroit racecourse, finishing third in the Piston Stakes after having to jump over a fallen horse.
With the urging of Skinner, Kinghaven owners “Bud” and David Willmot and trainer Roger Attfield decided to give the colt a shot in the Plate.
“Market Control was one of the most exciting Plate winners we ever had,’ recalled David Willmot in The Plate: 150 Years of Royal Tradition from Don Juan to Eye of the Leopard. ‘His win was so unexpected.”
ROGER THAT! ATTFIELD INDUCTED INTO AMERICA’S HALL OF FAME
“You okay?” That is eight-time Queen’s Plate winning trainer Roger Attfield’s popular greeting to his visitors. For over four decades, the English-born resident of Ontario has wowed Canadian thoroughbred racing with his horsemanship. Now he is being recognized in the United States.
In April, it was announced that the 72-year-old will become only the second trainer to add the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame induction to his Canadian Hall of Fame honour (1999), joining Lucien Laurin, the trainer of Secretariat.
Attfield joins jockey John Velazquez, Frank Stronach’s champion racehorse Ghostzapper and trainer Robert Wheeler as 2012 inductees.
“I am absolutely ecstatic, especially to be inducted at the same time as so many people I have respected over the years,” said Attfield. “Johnny Velazquez rode for me, and Frank Stronach I have known for years, and admire and respect him.”
His entry into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame was accomplished on his first ballot appearance, a true testament to his accomplishments and record.
Having saddled the winner of 1,731 races, including 369 stakes, Attfield has purse earnings of more than $88 million. He haswon the Sovereign Award for Outstanding Canadian Trainer a record eight times and trained three Canadian Triple Crown winners (Izvestia, With Approval, and Peteski).
Attfield’s eight Plate wins ties the record set by Harry Giddings Jr. (Plate winsfrom 1911-1942). He won his first Breeders’ Cup race in 2011 when Perfect Shirl took the Filly and Mare Turf. The many other stakes races he has won in the United States include the Wood Memorial, Flower Bowl, Shadwell Turf Mile, Maker’s Mark Mile, Elkhorn, Yellow Ribbon, Orchid, and Carter Handicap.
OVER THE MOON: STEVE BAHEN: 2012 AVELINO GOMEZ AWARD WINNER
It is still regarded as one of the most improbable Queen’s Plate results in modern history. T J’s Lucky Moon, at 82 to 1, under Woodbine veteran jockey Steve Bahen stormed to Plate glory in 2002.
The Molinaro Stable gelding was the second longshot shot to ever win the Plate.
Bahen is the 2012 recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award, presented to a Canadian-born, Canadian-raised or regular rider in the country for more than five years, who has made significant contributions to the sport. Bahen was to be presented with the award on Woodbine Oaks day, June 3 at Woodbine.
The honour is in memory of one of the sport’s most heralded and revered performers. The Cuban-born Gomez, a four-time Plate winner, died of complications after a three-horse accident in the 1980 Canadian Oaks.
Bahen, 45, notched his first win just after his 20th birthday, partnering Micheline to victory on July 7, 1986, at Woodbine. He was thrust into the spotlight in 1995, piloting eventual 1996 Horse of the Year, Mt. Sassafras, to a third in both the Queen’s Plate and Grade I Molson Million and a head-bob loss in the Breeders’ Stakes.
The Plate victory, however, is his most coveted victory. “I’ll never forget that moment,” said Bahen, in reference to one of the biggest upsets in Plate history. “It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years. Time flies, but I’m happy with how things have gone. I’ve persevered. I’ve lasted.”
Bahen, who won his 1,000th career race in 2005 with Dave the Knave, has recorded 62 stakes wins, three graded, along with over $41.5-million in purse earnings.
The lifetime winner of 1,234 races began the 2012 Woodbine campaign on a winning note, taking the first race of the season aboard Absoulute Heaven. “Receiving this award means a lot,” he said. “To see the people that have been recognized, it makes this very special.”