A wide open field of 13 will line up at Woodbine on Sunday in the first jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown, the $1 million Queen’s Plate, with the Tom Proctor trained Esposito looking for an upset.
Esposito, third in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park last December won his prep, a first level optional claimer going seven furlongs over the Tapeta surface and looks primed for a big effort.
The Plate Trial winner Amis Gizmo is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The Josie Carroll trainee has won five of his six career starts.
Carroll is the only female trainer to win the Queen’s Plate, winning with the filly Inglorious in 2011 and the colt Edenwold in 2006.
The beaten favorite in the Plate Trial was Shakhimat, who had to settle for the runner up spot at 4-5, beaten 2 ½ lengths. Trainer Roger Attfield will saddle the multiple stakes winner and looking for a record ninth win in the Queen’s Plate.
2016 Plate Trial Replay
The colt won the Coronation Futurity last year on the fake stuff and took the Transylvania (G3) on turf at Keeneland in April off a six-month layoff.
Mark Casse will saddle the lightly raced Leavem in Malibu, who beat Alw-1 foes on May 29 in his first start against winners. The colt is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. Casse won the Queen’s Plate with Lexie Lou in 2014.
The Queen’s Plate goes off as the 10th race on a 13-race card with post time of 5:36 ET.
Let’s head out to Woodbine for Sunday’s featured race of the day:
Woodbine Race 10 The Queen’s Plate Post time 5:36 ET
11 Esposito 8-1
10 Amis Gizmo 3-1
6 Shakhimat 5-1
4 Leavem in Malibu 7-2
Esposito beat Alw-1 optional claimers in his first start here going seven furlongs off a 5 ½ month layoff last out for the Tom Proctor barn. It was his first start since running a game third in the Springboard Mile in his stakes debut at Remington Park last December in the slop. Five runners came out of that race to win next out including the winner Discreetness, who won the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park before fizzling out on the Derby trail. The runner up Suddenbreakingnews won the Southwest (G3) and was second in the Arkansas Derby (G1).
It looks as if he has enough pedigree to handle the stretch out to 1 ¼ miles. He is by Ghostzapper out of a stakes placed Red Bullet mare. The Proctor barn is 17% winners moving runners from sprint to route and he should be fit off works at Fair Hill over the Tapeta surface.
Amis Gizmo won the Plate Trial last out at nine furlongs here for his fifth win in six career starts. The colt stalked the early pace and opened up heading for home, holding on to win by 2 ½ lengths over the chalk Shakhimat.
He has shown some versatility, winning stakes dueling for the lead and sitting off it which should come in handy in this spot. He is out of a Victory Gallop mare so the distance should be okay. She has dropped three other winners and two are stakes winners.
Shakhimat was the beaten chalk in the Plate Trial which was his first start on a synthetic surface since winning the Coronation Futurity here going nine furlongs last November. The question mark is whether he wants to go farther and what price he goes off at. The 5-1 morning line looks fair enough, but seems likely to go off lighter.
He is out of a Touch Gold mare so I would think he can handle the added ground. His trainer Roger Attfield has won this race eight times, the most recent coming with Not Bourbon in 2008.
WIN: Esposito to win at 9-2 or better.
EXACTA: 10,11 / 4,6,10,11
TRIFECTA: 10,11 / 4,6,10,11 / 4,6,10,11,13