The Canadian version of the Kentucky Derby takes place this weekend. While I am on the subject, a quick word of support and thanks that no one (human or equine) was hurt this week as a result of the tornado that touched down at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. The tornado caused some damage to the barn area and the cancellation of the Thursday program of racing as well. Back to the task at hand now, Woodbine hosts the 152nd running of The Queen's Plate for Canadian-bred three-year-olds with a field of seventeen. Here is the analysis:
The top selection in the Queen's Plate is #14 Queen'splatekitten, who will have the riding services of John Velazquez. I am not sure who the last rider was to win the Kentucky Derby and the Queen's Plate in the same year is, although I know that Bill Hartack turned the trick with Northern Dancer in 1964. This colt, trained by Todd Pletcher, won the Marine at Woodbine on May 21 with Eurico Da Silva aboard. He is also two-for-two at Woodbine in his brief career. He ran seventh in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland, the only race over Polytrack that he failed to win. Last year, Big Red Mike went all the way in front to win the Plate (as tipped by the blog). If anyone is going to do that this year, it might just be #3 Oh Canada. He will have blinkers on for this try and there is such a dearth of speed in here, he just might be able to get the lead and never relinquish it. He has never missed the money in five starts, but ran third behind the top pick in that Marine on May 21. There might be some distance limitations here as well, but if he can control the pace, anything goes. I mentioned that Eurico Da Silva was aboard the top pick for that last win. Da Silva gets the call on #16 Bowman's Causeway. He might be alone among these runners as far as facing top-flight U.S. competition this year. He has already run against the likes of Dialed In, Soldat, To Honor And Serve, Mucho Macho Man, and the Preakness winner, Shackleford. He ran second in the Plate Trial on June 5 and posted a bullet workout on June 19 over the training track at Saratoga. The horse that beat Bowman's Causeway in the Plate Trial was #13 Check Your Soul, who will likely be the favorite in here. He has won three straight and the last two of those came with Patrick Husbands aboard. In a race with seventeen entering the gate, I think there has to be some value to be found, so while I include the favorite in the mix, I think you have to try and top him. Here is the play for the 152nd Queen's Plate:
$1 EX BOX 3-10-13-14-16
$1 TRI 14 with 3-9-10-12-13-16
They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. The blog is right now MINUS $702, so we need to stop getting close and hit one of these things soon. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!