Saturday, July 05, 2014

The 155th Queen's Plate

In the 154 previous runnings of the Queen's Plate, which is essentially the Canadian equivalent of the Kentucky Derby here in the States, there have been many prominent champions. Northern Dancer in 1964, Dance Smartly in 1991, Awesome Again in 1997, and Wando in 2003 are just some of the great horses to have taken down the Plate. Which horse will join them in 2014 on that list of winners? The 8-5 morning-line favorite to do so is #6 We Miss Artie, who has already won the Plate Trial at Woodbine and finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby back in May. However, I am loathe to be selecting the favorite in a spot like this, especially with a wide-open field of fifteen, so here is the analysis of the 155th Queen's Plate.

The top choice in the Queen's Plate is #15 Ami's Holiday. While he drew outside, there will be plenty of time for him to establish a position that won't cause him to be caught five-wide throughout the race. Jockey Luis Contreras and trainer Josie Carroll teamed up to win the Queen's Plate in 2011 with Inglorious. This colt is exceedingly well-bred, with the Sire being Harlan's Holiday and Victory Gallop on the Dam side. The only issue is that he has not won a race since last October, when he scored in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine. He did go down to Keeneland in Kentucky to run fourth in his 2014 debut, the Grade 3 Lexington, and followed that up with a third in a $125K Stakes race at Woodbine last out on May 25. The last plus, I feel, is the apparent value at 10-1 on the morning line.

I will put the favorite, #6 We Miss Artie, in the second spot. Trainer Todd Pletcher has a Queen's Plate victory on his resume' with Archers Bay in 1998. This colt won the Plate Trial on June 15 and finished an even tenth in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Prior to that, he just managed to get up in time to win the Grade 3 Spiral at Turfway Park over Harry's Holiday. He did not continue on the Triple Crown trail to focus on returning to Canada to win this particular race. Javier Castellano rode this colt in the Derby and the Plate Trial. There is another major plus for this horse in the Queen's Plate: he is an undefeated 3 for 3 over synthetic surfaces. 8-5 is just too low a price for me to bet him on top.

#10 Matador is also entering the Queen's Plate off of a win in his last race at Woodbine in an Optional Claiming/Allowance race on May 28. That was his first win of 2014, but keep in mind that his previous 2014 races included four graded tries on the Kentucky Derby Trail. Julien Leparoux has the ride here, as he did for all of those American graded efforts.

The most likable longshot in this race just might be #2 Coltimus Prime, who was set at 20-1 on the morning-line and was a winner last time out on June 8. He is another that tried for success on the Road to the Roses, but the best result he got on that road was a fifth in the Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland.

155th Queen's Plate Top Four Selections: Ami's Holiday, We Miss Artie, Matador, Coltimus Prime

I have a new Twitter handle, which is: @taoMC16, you can follow me there and get selections from Turf Paradise and Vernon Downs, in addition to other random thoughts and posts. The best of luck with all of your Woodbine wagers on Sunday. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!