Canada’s biggest day at the races takes place Saturday at Woodbine as 14 horses vie in the prestigious Queen’s Plate.
The Queen’s Plate is Canada’s oldest Thoroughbred horse race, having been founded in 1860. It is also the oldest continuously run race in North America. As you can see via here, the race has played host to a great number of royals over the course of its history. The Queen’s Plate is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.
The 2020 Queen’s Plate was scheduled to be contested by the 3-year-olds in June. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was pushed to Sept. 12. Still, this edition has drawn a full field.
#2 Mervillaux: Jockey: Kazushi Kimura, Trainer Kevin Attard, Morning line: 10-1
Mervillaux won her first start at age 3 in June going 1 1/16 miles on Woodbine’s main track and then finished a solid fourth in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes and third in the Woodbine Oaks behind Curlin’s Voyage, one of the main horses in this race. Trainer Kevin Attard finished second in the 2007 Queen’s Plate with Alezzandro.
#6 Halo Again: Luis Contreras, Steve Asmussen, 6-1
Trainer Asmussen is a threat to win any race he sends out a horse. Halo Again won the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes by 1¼ lengths on July 4 and was second to Clayon Aug. 15 in the 1 1/8 miles Plate Trial Stakes. That’s a good sign as Halo Again heads into the gate for this seven-figure stake.
#9 Dotted Line: Justin Stein, Sid Attard, 8-1
Dotted Line has competed in three stakes so far as a 3-year-old, finishing fifth in the July 4 Queenston Stakes won by Halo Again, third in the Grade 3 Marine Stakes, and third to Clayton in the Plate Trial Stakes. In addition to having to battle some tough competition, the big question is whether Dotted Line has the ability to get the 10 furlongs. That can be a deciding factor in this test. Jockey Justin Stein won the 2012 Queen’s Plate on Strait of Dover. Trainer Sid Attard finished second in the 1992 Queen’s Plate with Grand Hooley and has finished third twice.
#10 Curlin’s Voyage: Patrick Husbands, Josie Carroll, 5-2
Curlin’s Voyage comes into the race off a pair of stakes victories. She was dominant and impressive in scoring by 1¾ lengths score in the Woodbine Oaks. Curlin’s Voyage would become the 38th filly to win Canada’s most prestigious race. Trainer Carroll won the 2006 Queen’s Plate with Edenwold and the 2011 renewal with Inglorious. Husbands won the in 2003 on Wando and 2014 on Lexie Lou. Strong as they come.
#12 Clayton: Rafael Hernandez, Kevin Attard, 2-1
Clayton comes into the race off of consecutive wins in two-turn races at Woodbine. In the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial Stakes, he finished strongly to win by a half-length at odds-on. Overall, he’s won three of four starts on the Tapeta and finished second in his other try. Trainer Kevin Attard finished second in the 2007 Queen’s Plate with Alezzandro. Jockey Rafael Hernandez won the 2015 renewal aboard Shaman’s Ghost.
The Hunch Horses
#3 Belichick: Slade Callaghan, Josie Carroll 30-1
This could be an omen for the NFL season and the horse figures to take some money from New England Patriots’ faithful. Belichick is a long shot in the Queen’s Plate. A maiden in the Queen’s Plate. Belichick has raced twice. He was favored in both of his starts — the first on grass and his second race on Woodbine’s Tapeta Footings main track. He would be an absolute stunner if he won, but that’s why this is called a hunch. You would be betting with your heart, not your head!
#5 Holyfield: Darryll Holland, Catherine Day Phillips, 30-1
This one has, um, a fighter’s chance to annex the first leg of Canada’s Triple Crown. This gelding is getting better, breaking his maiden in a 1 1/16-mile turf race Aug. 22. Don’t expect a Holyfield-Belichick exacta box to deliver a knockout punch and send you to the window to cash.
Halo Again, Dotted Line, Curlin’s Voyage