A field of 13 horses will compete Sunday in the 151st running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes (G1) at Woodbine and with the entry of the first and second-place finishers of the Woodbine Oaks and Plate trail, the race is shaping up to be very competitive.
Inaugurated in 1860, The Queen’s Plate is North America’s oldest thoroughbred horse race and trainer Mark Frostad is hoping that his triactor of Hotep, Giant’s Tomb and Dark Cloud Dancer can help him claim his fifth plate victory.
Since returning to Woodbine in May, Hotep, the 3-1 morning line favorite, has finished first in the Wando and placed in the Marine Stakes. Hotep had been campaigned for a bid at the American Classics but was returned to Woodbine after disappointing finishes in the Risen Star (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2).
Hotep is a full brother to last year’s Queen’s Plate winner Eye of the Leopard and he definitely has the breeding to get the distance but I’m somewhat leery about his prospects. I like to see a horse race in a 9-furlong prep before taking on the added distance of 10-furlongs and Hotep’s last race was the 8.5-furlong Marine Stakes.
Giant’s Tomb (12-1) comes into the race with a fourth-place finish in the Plate Trial and the lightly-raced Dark Cloud Dancer (15-1) has yet to run in stakes competition.
Dark Cloud Dancer is my favorite of Frostad’s entries. Dark Cloud Dancer is stepping up in class but he is an improving horse and he’s never been off the board in three starts. In his last race, Dark Cloud Dancer narrowly missed the win by a half-length in a 9-furlong allowance at Woodbine.
Dark Cloud Dancer’s sire is Storm Cat who is known mostly as a sire of sprinters and middle-distance horses but his best router was Giant’s Causeway. I believe that Dark Cloud Dancer should be able to get the distance of the Queen’s Plate as his dam, Dancethruthedawn won the 2001 Queen’s Plate and finished second in the Prince of Wales Stakes (G1). His second dam was the 1991 Canadian Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly.
With some racing luck, I believe that Dark Cloud Dancer could be a factor in the Queen’s Plate.
Trainer Roger Attfield adds blinkers to Mobilizer (7-2) who comes into the race off of a hard-fought second-place finish to Big Red Mike in the Plate Trial. I really like the pedigree of Mobilizer as the first four stallions of the sire line were all Classic Champion Thoroughbreds – as well as the second damsire, Roberto.
A win by Mobilizer would give trainer Roger Attfield his 9th Queen’s Plate victory making him the trainer with the most plate wins.
Mobilizer is also an improving horse and he’s never been off the board in four starts. With the addition of blinkers, a sharp workout on June 25 and the added distance of an extra furlong, I believe that Mobilizer will be tough to beat in the Queen’s Plate.
Moment of Majesty (12-1), who narrowly lost to Roan Inish by a head in the 9-furlong Woodbine Oaks, should also like the added distance of the Queen’s Plate. Her pedigree is stamina-laden with Breeders’ Cup Classic Champion Saint Liam as her sire and the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds A.P. Indy, Seattle Slew and Rainbow Quest on the bottom.
Moment of Majesty appears to have come out of the Oaks in good condition and a sharp bullet work out June 26 indicates that she could be ready to put in another good race.
Big Red Mike (6-1) and Roan Inish (9-2) also look tough in this race.
Big Red Mike went gate-to-wire in the Plate Trial setting soft fractions and it will be interesting to see if he will be able to repeat that effort in the Queen’s Plate.
Roan Inish came from off the pace to win the Oaks by a head and she should be in contention at the end of the Queen’s Plate.
In the past 20 years, nine Queen’s Plate races have been won by descendents of the Northern Dancer sire line. Four Plate winners have been descendents of the Mr. Prospector sire line and Eye of the Leopard is the only Bold Ruler sire line descendent to win since 1990.
Six of the 13 horses entered in the Queen’s Plate are descendents of the Northern Dancer sire line: Mobilizer, Dark Cloud Dancer, Giant’s Tomb, D’s Wando, Who We Gunna Call and Mobthewarrior. Big Red Mike and Roan Inish are descendents of the Mr. Prospector sire line. Hotep and Smart Sky are Bold Ruler sire line descendents.