EARLY LOOK AT THE JULY 3 QUEEN’S PLATE PROBABLE FIELD (15)

Amis Gizmo is the 3-1 favorite for Sunday’s Queen’s Plate. Leavem in Malibu (7-2), Shakhimat (5-1) and Gamble’s Ghost (6-1) rank next.

HORSE / TRAINER / OWNER / JOCKEY
All On Red / Sid Attard / JMJ Racing Stables LLC / Eurico Rosa da Silva
Amis Gizmo / Josie Carroll / Ivan Dalos / TBA
Cheburashka / Robert Tiller / Goldmart Farms / TBA
Crumlin Spirit / Mike Doyle / Dura Racing and M. J. Doyle Racing Stables Ltd. / TBA
Esposito / Tom Proctor / Chartwell Partners LLC / Alan Garcia
Gamble’s Ghost / Josie Carroll / Ivan Dalos / TBA
Hammers Vision / Brian Lynch / Terry Hamilton / Patrick Husbands
Leavem in Malibu / Mark Casse / Gary Barber & Conrad Farms / Gary Boulanger
Mike / John LeBlanc Jr./ Paradox Farm, Inc., Mardon Stable & Hugh Sutherland / David Moran
My Name Is Jim / Reade Baker / Mario Forgione / TBA
Narrow Escape / Justin Nixon / JMC’s Racing Stable, Warren Dehan & Justin J. Nixon / TBA
Rocket Plan / John LeBlanc Jr. / William Gierkink / Simon Husbands
Scholar Athlete / Graham Motion / West Point Thoroughbreds / Jose Ortiz
Shakhimat / Roger Attfield / Dan Gale and Richard Hogan / Emma-Jayne Wilson
Sir Dudley Digges / Mike Maker / Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey / Julien Leparoux

ESPOSITO LOOKS TO GET HIS QUEEN’S PLATE ‘PHIL’

Chartwell Partners’ Esposito, named after NHL legend Phil Esposito, looks for his biggest score to date in Sunday’s $1 million Queen’s Plate, at Woodbine.

Having netted two wins in four career starts, including a sharp victory at seven panels over the Toronto oval Tapeta on June 5, the son of Ghostzapper streaks into the Plate in top form.

“He was so impressive in that last race,” said jockey Alan Garcia. “He’s a very nice horse. The day that he won, I moved him out at the 5/8ths pole and when I asked him to go, he just took off. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to ride him in such an important race.”

The Stanley Cup of Canadian thoroughbred racing, if you will.

Esposito made his debut on October 10, 2015, finishing third in a six-furlong race over the Santa Anita main track. The bay broke his maiden next time out, courtesy of a 2 ½-length triumph at Del Mar last November, followed by a third in the Remington Springboard Mile on December 13. Now, the Ontario-bred will go for the hat trick with a win in the 157th running of the iconic horse race.

Garcia’s jockey agent, who happens to be named Tony Esposito, is undoubtedly thrilled at the thought of a first star performance on July 3.

“I think he’s more excited than me,” laughed Garcia. “Last year, we talked a lot about this horse. We saw his races in the U.S. and they were very impressive. When we found out that we would be riding him here, it was pretty amazing. (Laughing) If we were to win this race, maybe it would be more special for him (Tony). Maybe he’ll retire if we win it.”

CRUMLIN SPIRIT 50/50 FOR PLATE DRAW

Crumlin Spirit, who would have to be supplemented at a cost of $25,000, is fifty-fifty to enter Sunday’s $1-million Gallop for the Guineas. The Court Vision-Heart Lake filly, bred in Ontario by William D. Graham, breezed four furlongs in :50.20 over the Woodbine main on Saturday.

“I worked her a little half-mile in :50, but I’m not sure just yet,” said trainer Mike Doyle, who co-owns the talented bay with Bill Duffy’s Dura Racing. “We didn’t ask her for much, but she did it well.”

Crumlin Spirit ran a credible fourth in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, presented by Budweiser, despite being bumped twice by runner-up Gamble’s Ghost in the stretch run.

“I thought she ran a hell of a race and had she not been bothered, she’d have been third and perhaps second,” said Doyle.

With a record of 2-5-1 from 11 starts, Crumlin Spirit has proven to be a tenacious racehorse while racing almost exclusively in stakes competition. Her biggest win, a rallying length score, came in the seven furlong Lady Angela Stakes.

“I think she can do almost anything. She can run seven-eighths in 1:22 and change. She’s been placed from 5 1/2-furlongs on up. She’s very versatile and she definitely will run long,” said Doyle.

Her willingness to battle to the wire, under regular pilot David Moran, has helped the filly bank $271,370 thus far.

“She needs that hand riding and continually asking her for more. She just keeps finding,” said Doyle.

While not a certainty for the big dance just yet, Doyle believes a major slice in the $1-million event is well within her reach.

“She’s happy and sound. The tough part is you have to come back in three weeks, but I think the distance suits her. She’d be one of the few finishing if everything were to go good,” said Doyle.

CANADIAN TRIPLE CROWN TO BE BROADCAST LIVE

TSN’s live coverage of the Canadian Triple Crown begins with the 157th running of The Queen’s Plate – regarded as the premier event in Canadian horse racing – on Sunday, July 3 at 4:30 p.m. ET live from Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.

The Canadian Triple Crown shares the same race distances as its U.S. counterpart. However the uniqueness of the Canadian horse races is that each event is contested on a different racing surface: Tapeta, dirt, and turf. The Prince of Wales Stakes, second leg of the Triple Crown, will be held at Fort Erie Race Track on Tuesday, July 26; while the Breeders’ Stakes, the third and final jewel, is slated for Sunday, August 21, at Woodbine.