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International flavour litters the field for the Queen's Plate

Queen’s Plate Ami’s Flatter baths down after galloping at Woodbine yesterday. The conteder has the 5-2 odds to win the $1,000,000 race. michael burns photo
Queen’s Plate Ami’s Flatter baths down after galloping at Woodbine yesterday. The conteder has the 5-2 odds to win the $1,000,000 race. michael burns photo
TORONTO, Ont. —

Canadians aren’t the only ones interested in the Queen’s Plate.

The $1-million race normally attracts robust wagering in the U.S. and other countries. Saturday’s race will be broadcast globally via the Horse Racing Radio Network (at horseracingradio.net and SiriusXM Channel 156). And two U.S. interests bringing their Canadian-bred runners to Woodbine for a shot at history.

One Bad Boy is coming from California and has a legitimate shot. The son of Twirling Candy was third and second (to eventual Arkansas Derby winner Omaha Beach) in his two starts at Santa Anita over the winter. He broke his maiden at that track in April then went north to Golden Gate Fields and finished second in a stake there, staying close to the lead throughout before getting passed late.

“I thought he ran a great race when he finished second in the stake,” trainer Richard Baltas told Woodbine Entertainment. “It was a really strong effort.”

“Since that race, we removed the blinkers and he’s trained really well without them. Now that he’s going a mile and a quarter, I don’t think he needs to show a ton of speed.”

Tone Broke is well-travelled. A 15-length winner at Remington Park last fall, he was taken from that Oklahoma track to Dubai, where he discovered he was not anywhere near the class of the horses in the desert. So he went back to the U.S. and to Pimlico where he finished second in the Sir Barton Stakes last month. A big horse who will appreciate the distance, co-owner Michael Levinson is not so sure about the Tapeta surface.

“That’s a little bit of a question mark for us, whether he’s going to take to that surface or not,” Levinson said.

NOSTALGIC RIDE

The red and gold of Sam Son Farms has won the Plate five times but it has been 10 years since Eye of the Leopard provided that last win.

Now they send out Desert Ride, who will try to continue a streak of filly winners of the Plate started by Holy Helena two years ago and continued by Wonder Gadot last year. Trained by Neil Howard, the daughter of Candy Ride stormed into the Plate picture with a last-to-first stretch run in the Woodbine Oaks on June 8. Trainer Neil Howard said the filly, who had won two of her first three starts earlier this year, is easy for him to deal with.

“She does not concern herself with anything,” Howard said. “She was a wonderful mind.”

“Good horses, most of the time, have that good demeanour.”

STRONG CARD

Saturday’s action starts at noon and before the runners for the Plate head on to the track, there are five interesting undercard stakes.

The $300,000 Highlander drew nine turf sprinters. Extravagant Kid is a multiple stakes winner who was last seen here finishing second in the Jacques Cartier Stakes. Caribou Club won two stakes in California the past few months. El Tormenta comes off a win in the recent Connaught Cup. Wet Your Whistle is a recent stakes winner at Monmouth.

2017 Plate champ Holy Helena returns to face seven in the $175,000 Dance Smartly. She was a stakes winner at Gulfstream in March. Starship Jubilee won the Canadian last fall and was also a winner at Gulfstream in the winter. Cartabianca was fifth at Woodbine in May and was a five-time winner in France. Rock my Love, a Group 3 winner in Germany, runs on these shores for the first time.

Eight runners will contest the $175,000 King Edward. Synchrony is a multiple stakes winner for trainer Michael Stidham. Mr. Ritz was recently a narrow second in the Eclipse Stakes. Emmaus just missed in the Connaught Cup. Rose’s Vision, a Plate entrant last year, won a stakes event at Saratoga.

The $100,000 Charlie Barley has drawn a field of seven. The Black Album was a Group 3 winner in France and third in the Transylvania at Keeneland behind Avie’s Flatter. Global Access was a stakes winner at Tampa Bay Downs before taking the Marine Stakes in his most recent outing.

The $100,000 Zadracarta has eight fillies and mares. Silent Sonet won the race last year and also took the Ontario Fashion Stakes. Red Cabernet won the Victoriana at Woodbine last fall. Zestina won the Passing Mood and Ontario Damsel last year.

INSIDE TRACK

Friday’s card features the opening of Woodbine’s seven-furlong inner turf course. The Kentucky Bluegrass course took 14 months to complete and $8 million to build. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 2:30 p.m.

“Opening our new state-of-the-art inner turf course during the Queen’s Plate Festival is the perfect complement to this event,” Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson said. “It’s a demonstration of our commitment to growing the sport.”

The first race on the surface is a modest $25,000 claiming event that has attracted nine runners, the most notable being nine-year-old veteran Kaigun.

Preceding that race will be the $100,000 Lady Angela Stakes for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs on the Tapeta course. The field of five includes Sav, a recent optional claiming winner, Pink Scribbles, a Katerina Vassilieva-trainee who had four straight second-place finishes before breaking her maiden last time out, and Ciuri, who was second in her last after winning her first two.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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