The Queens Plate Stakes ($1,000.000 Purse)
WO- For Three Year Olds Foaled in Canada
One Mile and One Quarter on the Dirt
June 27, 2020
It may be the biggest race of the year in Canada. The Queens Plate will send elite three year olds that were born north of the border, and offers a large $1,000.000 Purse. With breeding in Ontario being something that is particularly valued within our virtual world, this race is always a highlight on the calendar. This year will be more of the same, and one of the top contenders for the KYD, Anoush Command, highlights the field of fourteen that will be going to post. Looking back at this race, it was once owned by Australia Wide, as the former king won the first four editions. It is exciting to see him back this year, and we will see if he can reclaim his crown over the trainer that won the race last year, Mb Stables, doing so with Questionable. That is a gelding that is continuing to have success at high levels this year. Will Anoush Command show what made him one of the favorites for the KYD, or will one these other horses have their day ahead of him? Let’s take a look at those who will be taking part!
#1- Sheza Showgirl (Australia Wide, ridden by E J Wilson)- He’s back! We’ll see if Australia Wide still has the magic touch in this race, as his pursuit to get his fifth Queens Plate championship relies on this $60.000 private sales purchase from the middle of May. Of course, sheza filly indeed as well. This gives her five pound weight allowance, which can always help. She did look good against other fillies in the WO Oaks, her Australia Wide debut, where she ran third after chucking the blinkers. This is a tough ask for her, but never rule AW out.
#2- Becket (John Henry, ridden by D E Centeno)- I wish I could remember the two year olds that Mb Stables got back in the trade that he made with John Henry, because I remember saying then that I thought Mb won the trade. (If you know, feel free to include their names in the comments). Becket, after three races with John Henry, has simply not shown anything other then glamorous works. One day, that may change, and if that happens here, then all the better for the trainer. Plus, it gives me a good headline for the recap. It’s time for Becket to step up for his trainer.
#3- County Medical (Crocker Ggs, ridden by A Beschizza)- Made several attempts in the prep races for the KYD to get into the show, but was unable to do so. He was not bad in those races though, and without much of that competition here in the Queens Plate, I think his outlook is a lot better. I also like the fact that this is a longer distance, and that’s with him not having much experience with it. His running style seems good for it, but I would not necessarily say that he is going to assume a closer role here. After all, he comes out of the Grade 3 Salvator Mile with win while having a stalking trip.
#4- Dirty Kruz (Nakamura Stables, ridden by S R Bahen)- Acquired in the March auction for $50.000, and was gelded the same day. He has only had one race since then as the trainer took the time to get to know his new acquisition. Eventually, he would race in an allowance in May, and run second in the mud against two others. That effort did not discourage Nakamura from entering him here in the Queens Plate. This does seem like a longshot, and his works do not really stand out at me as being special against this company.
#5- Warhead (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by P Husbands)- This Cherokee Sunset gelding is one to watch for the future, but in the present he is inexperience at this company. He has only raced twice, but does not know how to end his day yet without visiting the winners circle. His works also do not stand out at me, and he’s been doing a lot of that recently. I am going to pass on him here.
#6- Declassified (Mb Stables, ridden by R M Hernandez)- One of three in the field from Mb Stables, and with this one, he is hoping for a successful turf to dirt move. Declassified has done well on the grass at times, but also has shown to be a little inconsistent on it. The $200.000 TX Turf Mile was a nice win, though it could not be followed up. He is not a stranger to the main track, and has had one race, which came right here, on the grass, within the last seven months. His works look sharp for this as well.
#7- Anoush Command (Fractious, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- So here is who everyone’s eyes will be on in the Queens Plate. His excellent performances in the TC prep races, culminating in winning the Grade 1 FL Derby, showed that he was one of the horses to beat for the KYD. Then came the post draw, followed by a race that is one the game would like to forget about. Two weeks later, I thought he raced well in the PRK, but it was only good enough for fourth place. Being a Canadian-bred, he wisely opted to forego the BEL, and ends up here where you have to love his chances. He’s the one to beat, but you probably already knew that. This doesn’t mean he can’t be beat, though.
#8- Better Back Off (BonBay Stables, ridden by G Saez)- Last month, between the KYD and the PRK, Better Back Off was at CD, running in ten furlong open allowance. Previously, he had attempted to run some TC preps, which was highlighted by a third place effort in the Withers at AQU. But in the week after the KYD, Better Back Off had his time to shine, winning that open allowance, and now he will see what he can do against this company. I like how his SRF’s are progressing forward, and he should a good contender here.
#9- Ngannou (Bigking, ridden by J Bisono)- Here is another one that raced in a series of TC preps, and for Ngannou, they were a bit heartbreaking. After all, he was close in both TAM Derby and SA Derby, but not close enough to get a piece of those purses. Eventually, he would be sold by former trainer Mb Stables to Bigking for $125.000 in private sales. Ngannou successfully debuted in his new silks right here in the shorter Queenston Stakes, winning the race.
#10- Ronaldo Chop (Night Rider Stables, ridden by T Gaffalione)- The gelding has spent a lot of time running up here in Canada, so he is hoping that experience can result in winning a race of this magnitude here. So far, the elephant in the room with him is that he has not won anything but his maiden race. At the beginning of the month, he was one of two in this field that ran in the Plate Trial Stakes, and he was third there. He could like the distance, but he is tough to like against some of these he faces here.
#11- Fortaleza (Mb Stables, ridden by G Franco)- This is the other horse that ran in the Plate Trial Stakes at the start of the month, but for Fortaleza, that ended with a trip to the winner’s circle. That wasn’t made for a horse that Mb Stables picked up in a claimer for $40.000 at the beginning of March. Mb Stables started running him long, and after running well in his debut, it was a victory in his last. This is a horse that once ran in the Grade 1 Hopeful, so his ability has always been there, maybe he just needed some time.
#12- Vengeful (Mb Stables, ridden by V Espinoza)- The third entry in the field from Mb Stables, and he is an interesting one. It took him eight tries to break his maiden, but the trainer never stopped nominated him high, since he was doing well in getting some part of the purse. Finally, he would break through, and since then he has not stopped winning. That streak has now reached three, but he has never run in a stake before. Oh, and by the way, he also not raced on the dirt since his very first race last May. Of course that day, he raced in mud more then he did dirt.
#13- Hollywood Dump (Night Rider Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- A second entry in the field from Night Rider Stables, and it is one of the newest additions to his barn. At the beginning of the month, he claimed the gelding for $37.500, and now is hoping to get a quick reward for that. There are more changes for Hollywood Dump, as like Vengeful, he has not raced on the main track since his very first race. However, the gelding has also never raced more then six and a half furlongs. This is a tough one, but we will see how it goes.
#14- Appreciate (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by M Tunon)- Our final entry in the field is a gelding that seems to have done a little bit of everything thus far in his career. He did try a couple of TC preps, but neither went well, and that led to him being moved over to the turf for his last two races. He comes here off a win, doing so in the $100.000 Paradise Creek at BEL last month. That should get the confidence back, and the administration of bute before the race also seems to paying off for him. Has taken a liking to come from behind, and I could see him getting a piece of this even though he isn’t among my picks.