By Papo Morales, AmWest Entertainment
Race 10 Queen’s Plate Stakes 1 1/4th Miles
The highlight of Sunday’s racing takes us north to Woodbine for the 157th running of the Queen’s Plate Stakes. The race was first run in 1860 and was comprised of three one-mile heats. The inaugural winner was a horse by the name of Don Juan, who won two of the three races that day. There are no “heat” races for the modern day Queen’s Plate Stakes that it is now run at the classic distance of mile and a quarter. The pageantry and excitement remains and this rendition of the race has a contentious field of 13 three-year-olds looking to have their name engraved in history.
I can see one of four horses winning the 2016 Queen’s Plate and will include all of them in my multi-race bets. My “A”’s in the race are Ami’s Gizmo (3-1) and Shakhimat (5-1). Ami’s Gizmo has done little wrong in his career winning five of six lifetime starts. The Giant Gizmo colt is coming off a very impressive win in the Plate Trial Stakes where he stalked the early pace and then powered down the stretch to win going away. That race was at 1 1/8th miles but the added distance should not be an issue as his grandsire is Giant’s Causeway and he is out of a Victory Gallop mare. It’s worth noting that Luis Contreras chose Ami’s Gizmo over the other Carroll entry in Gamble’s Ghost.
Shakhimat, for trainer Roger Attfield, offers a bit more value at his morning line price and he should run a big race. He ran second to Ami’s Gizmo in the Plate Trial. While he did not persevere that day, I believe he could turn the tables on his rival today. Shakhimat was a pace horse early in his career but Attfield has done a god job of training him to rate, a style that should help him in this race. Watching the replay of the Plate Trial, his jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson asked him to make two separate moves, a difficult position to put a horse in. If she can rate him and make one decisive run, it will enhance his chances of winning. Shakhimat is by Lonhro, an Australian stallion that won at the classic distance. It is also worth noting he has foundation, as he is the only horse in this race to have run twice at 1 1/8th miles, winning once and finishing second in the other.
Two horses that I will include as “B’s” are Leavem in Malibu (7-2) and Gamble’s Ghost (6-1). Leavem in Malibu is a lightly-raced Malibu Moon colt that is trained by Mark Casse. While he has never raced over a 1 1/16th miles, Casse is confident that his horse wants all of the mile and a quarter of today’s race. His dam is Leaveminthedust, who’s sire was Danzig, a pedigree that spells route races. Leavem in Malibu may not have the experience of some of the others in this race but he is a talented colt and his preciousness and bullet works in the mornings puts him in the mix.
Gamble’s Ghost is the other entry for Carroll and her closing style makes her dangerous in this race. Notice I said her, yes she is a filly, and a very good one. She has seven lifetime starts and finished in the exacta in six of them. The outside post of 13 does not temper my enthusiasm as she is a closer and can drop back at the start of the race and then come flying at the end. She is by Ghostzapper, so the distance of Sunday’s race should be within her scope. Filly or not, she is good. Lexie Lou won this race back in 2014 and showed that talent is spelled t-a-l-e-n-t and not tied to gender and talent wins the Queen’s Plate.
A longshot that you may want to include in your exactas and/or trifectas is Sir Dudley Digges (15-1) for trainer Mike Maker. The Gio Ponti colt ran third in the Plate Trial and had a good gallop out after crossing the wire. That was his first race on the tapeta surface and expect him to run better today. He shows a bullet work coming in, you get Leparoux in the saddle, and his dam sire was Kris S. which means the added real estate of this race should suit him. For may want to spread in the third and fourth positions as I can see some of the pace horses in this race holding on for a piece.
A great race and an outstanding card at Woodbine on Sunday. Grade 2 Highlander, Grade 2 Dance Smartly, & Grade 3 Singspiel are also on Sunday’s card.