Those who dare leave Moira off their win tickets in the $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine on Sunday could find themselves up Schitt’s Creek. The 3-year-old filly, named after Catherine O’Hara’s character in the popular TV show, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the horse racing odds as she takes on 10 boys in the first leg of the Canadian Triple crown – a 1¼-mile test over Woodbine’s all-weather surface. Weekend stakes action also includes the Grade III Iselin Stakes from Monmouth and the Grade I Del Mar Oaks. Those races will be run on Saturday.
Queen’s Plate: Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Moira is trying to become the 38th filly to win the Queen’s Plate, which was first run in 1860. The daughter of Ghostzapper leaves from post 8 under Rafael Manual Hernandez. Moira is 3-for-4 lifetime after romping in the Woodbine Oaks by 10¾ lengths with an eye-catching turn of foot after trailing by seven at the half. She faces a similar trip in this race, which features plenty of speed. Kevin Attard, second in the trainer standings at Woodbine, seeks his first Queen’s Plate.
Hall of Fame conditioner Mark Casse is the king of Woodbine, and sends out a pair in Hall of Dreams (12-1, post 1, Patrick Husbands) and Sir For Sure (8-1, post 10, Declan Carroll). Sir For Sure won the Plate Trial on July 24 with a come-from-behind effort at 21-1 with Hall of Dreams second. Casse has won two Queen’s Plates – both with fillies in Lexie Lou (2014) and Wonder Gadot (2018).
“It’s a race you dream about winning and one you definitely want to win again,” Casse told Bloodhorse. “To win it once was a huge thrill, to win it a second time was fantastic, and to win it a third time would be incredible.”
Rondure, the second choice at 3-1 when betting online, leaves from post 6. Flavien Prat rides. Rondure owns the best Beyer speed figure in the field, earning a 95 in winning the Grade III Marine Stakes at Woodbine on July 2 by 5½ lengths. The son of Oxbow is a versatile sort who stalked and pounced in the Marine for trainer Katerina Vassilieva.
A longer shot to consider is Causin’ Mayhem (6-1, post 11, Antonio Gallardo), who may try to steal this race on the front end. The Todd Pletcher trainee took the Plate Trial field as far as he could in his first try on the all-weather track before finishing four lengths behind in third and could be better in his fourth career start.
The connections of Messier announced on Aug. 9 that the Ontario bred would not run in the Queen’s Plate. Messier last raced May 7, when he finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby at 7-1.
The Canadian Triple Crown is unique in that it is contested on three different surfaces. The second jewel is the Prince of Wales on Sept. 13 at Fort Erie on dirt. The final leg is the Breeders’ Stakes on Oct. 2 at Woodbine over the E.P. Taylor turf course.
The Queen’s Plate is Race 10 on a 13-race card and will be televised by TVG. Post time is 5:42 p.m. ET.
Del Mar Oaks: Upset Looms in Full Field of 14
The Del Mar Oaks features a full field of 14 fillies going 1⅛ miles on the turf. Spendarella is the 8-5 favorite from post 11 with Tyler Gaffalione riding for Graham Motion. Spendarella won her first three races before finishing fourth at Royal Ascot in June. She is one of a half-dozen horses who could scrimmage for the lead, setting it up for a closer. That could be Bellabel (5-1, post 2), who appears destined to get a groundsaving trip under Umberto Rispoli. Bellabel comes off a solid victory in the Grade II San Clemente at Del Mar on July 23. Check the prices at the racebook in the minutes leading up to the Del Mar Oaks, which is Race 8 and will be televised by TVG. Post time is 8:34 p.m. ET
Iselin Stakes: Top Trainers Set To Do Battle
The Iselin, a 1⅛-mile dirt affair, shapes up as a three-horse race. Forza Di Oro, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, is the 8-5 favorite in the field of six. Highly Motivated is 9-5 for Chad Brown while Pletcher sends out Promise Keeper (5-2). All three are versatile but expect Paco Lopez to send Forza Di Oro from the rail. Brown and Pletcher, 1-2 in the trainer standings at Saratoga in wins and earnings, are 1-3 in earnings at Monmouth. Brown won five races at Monmouth on Haskell Day, including four in a row – three Grade IIs and a Grade I.