Woodbine Field of Dreams

Woodbine is a piece of two tales: history and innovation. The home of the historic Queen’s Plate – which will be raced for the 163rd time on Sunday, making it the longest continuous race in North America – has undergone renovations that conceptually could border on the fantastic. That is, until he is seen in person. At the forefront of structural renewal, Woodbine, which covers 684 acres of prime real estate in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, currently stands in a development backdrop that would make most other racing operators blush. In the background of the track’s famous paddock stands the ever-expanding setting of an amphitheater and a hotel, both due to be unveiled in spring 2023. A second hotel and train station are also among other amenities. planned for the future. And while the current Woodbine continues to grow at an impressive rate, the legacy of the oval and the classic racing tradition of the track, the Queen’s Plate, remains firmly ingrained in the psyche of the local equestrian community.

Looking for his first Queen’s Plate win, trainer Kevin Attard, who will saddle the morning line favorite Moira (Ghostzapper), campaigned by X-Men Racing, Madaket Stables and SF Racing. Third in the original jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown with HC Holiday last year, Attard is trying to saddle the first filly to win the 1 1/4 mile test since Wonder Gadot established the feat in 2018. The best result d’Attard in the race was saved by Alezzandro, finishing second in the 2007 Queen’s Plate before winning the second Triple Crown jewel, Prince of Wales S.

“That’s my ultimate goal here,” admitted Attard. “It’s an instrumental race in Canadian racing. The story and the hype that led to this race. There are a few Canadian Hall of Fame trainers who had very successful careers and won big races, but the one that eluded them was the Queen’s Plate. I took this route with a horse that I thought had a good chance of winning. It hasn’t worked out yet, but hopefully Moira will be the one to put the icing on the cake.

She won the Princess Elizabeth S. on her debut and was a finalist in the GIII Mazarine S. at two, earning her a Sovereign Award nomination. A narrow winner on her sophomore debut in the seven-stay Fury S. on June 11, she blasted the gates of her competition with a stunning 10 3/4-length win in the nine-panel Woodbine Oaks on July 24. recent work, she covered five furlongs in one: 59 4/5, the fifth fastest of 46 at the August 14 distance.

“She seems to have blossomed since winning the Oaks,” confirmed Attard, son of longtime Woodbine coach Tino Attard. “She had two good intermediate breezes. She has gained weight and her coat looks great and is vibrant and healthy. I don’t think she could enter the race in better shape.

As the Oaks appeared to be executed to perfection, the high-spirited filly stepped on her back foot, dislodging one shoe while bending the other. The crash prompted Attard to make an 11 a.m. decision and remove both rear shoes for the race. A movement that does not seem to affect the filly.

“She doesn’t like to sit still for too long,” Attard explained. “She gets a little anxious. That’s the only real quirk for her. Once she took the turn, she really didn’t do anything really negative.

He continued: “The bigger crowd is something she will have to deal with, but luckily even with her pre-race antics in the Oaks, she didn’t break out or wide. It’s not like she lost her race in the paddock, so she was able to control herself. We’ve done a lot of studying with her, so we can help her overcome that. We have a slightly different game plan, we’re going to fire her in the paddock to [the Queen’s Plate], so I hope she’s handling it all well. The idea right now is that she’s going there with four shoes and hopefully she’ll keep them all by the time she gets to the starting gate.

While most of her competitors have already succeeded in the Queen’s Plate, coach Katerina Vassilieva will try to win the Classic on her first attempt. Given the task of landing a lucrative prize, GIII Marine striker S. roundness (Oxbow), owned by Borders Racing Stable. Winner by 10 3/4 lengths when unveiled at Woodbine in May, the colt finished second behind the opponent The Minkster (Channel) in June 12 Queenston S.

“He has done nothing wrong this year. He beat his maiden impressively and has just been beaten by a head in the Queenston S., which confirmed in my mind that he is a legit horse who can compete at a high stake. He impressed me even more in the Navy, so I knew straight away I had a legit runner for the Queen’s Plate.

“There wasn’t too much time between the Queenston and the Marine, so I thought I could give him some breathing room, especially after the hard work he put in.

Rafael Hernandez, who was on board for Rondure’s last win, opted to ride Moira, leaving the saddle to American import Flavien Prat.

“I had in mind that if he had to choose the filly, I was going to contact an American rider I had Irad Ortiz [Jr.] in mind, because he won the Plate last year and I had Flavien Prat in mind because he won it two years ago [One Bad Boy]. I think Flavien will be a great rider for my horse.

More graduated action

Woodbine features an additional trio of stakes on the Queen’s Plate undercard, highlighted by the GII Kind Edward S. and the GII Canadian S. In the former, last season’s GI Woodbine Mile winner Town Cruise (Town Prize) is trying to register its first victory since this race almost a year ago. GI Maker’s Mark Mile is also looking to track down the winning yarn Shirl’s Speight (Speightstown), who has hit the board once in three starts since, finishing third for Hall of Famer Roger Attfield in the GIII Salvator Mile in June.

Marc Casse, represented by room of dreams (Lemon Drop Kid) and sir of course (Sligo Bay {Ire}) in the classic function of the day, also saddles Filo Di Arianna (Brz) (Drosselmeyer) and Walk to the Ark (Camber). The duo finished 1-2 in the GII Connaught Cup on July 23. Fev Rover (Ireland) and Keyflower (en) (Kheleyf). Trying to get in his way, Graham Motion proposes Crystal Cliffs (Fr) (Canford Cliffs {Ire}), winner of Gulfstream’s Sand Springs in April and second in the GIII Gallorette S. at Pimlico on May 21st. Most recently, he came just off the pace to annex the GII Nassau S. mile on the EP Taylor grass course on July 2.

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