The Plate Trial goes off at Woodbine later this afternoon. There really is only one potential killer in the field, and that is Southdale, a horse who looked physically impressive when he romped to victory in a maiden win on May 3rd.
El Brujo, the morning line favourite paper looks too much like last year's Plate winner, Not Bourbon. And I was wrong very wrong last year, but my handicapping fundamentals haven't changed because of last years results. I expect El Brujo to struggle in the last 2 furlongs today.
The wild card today is Eastern Promise, coming in from France. Tough to compare races from there. I'm not crazy about the time between each race this year, so I can see him using today's race strictly as a trial.
Keino West is my long shot. 3rd race of the year, this horse looks like a router. There was nothing wrong with his maiden win late last year, and he should have a decent pace to run at today.
Finally, Rapid Release saddled by last year's Plate winning trainer Roger Attfield. He just looks like he is on the improve, and there is no doubt that Attfield will be able to get the distance out of him today.
Interestingly, there is a maiden race that goes off just before The Trial. Same distance, and the field actually looks comparable to the Stake Race. Lots of speed, may actually mean the time of the maiden race will be close to the stake race. On figures, it wouldn't be surprising.
Dr. Funkelstein, may come out of this maiden race as a major contender for the Plate if he runs as I expect him to. He ran in a very good NW1 other than last time, and actually beat out Rapid Release by a length in that race. Now he faces maidens.
I'm interested in how far Candy Games can go, though Big Brown Brewski figures to compromise his chances and will force Candy Games to chase.
Other Canadian bred horses who will be auditioning for the plate are Yorkville and Gallant. They should both get good trips today, and depending on the final time of today's race in comparison with The Trial, either one of them could be Plate contenders.
Woodbine has a website devoted to the Queen's Plate. What I like the most are the archival videos of past Queen's Plate races. Elissa Blowe does an excellent job with the narration.
Congrats go out to Robbie King for winning the Avelino Gomez Award
Fort Erie To Push Back Times Soon
As I suggested on this blog not so long ago, Fort Erie should start later on Monday and Tuesdays because their handle really goes up around 4:30 to 5:30. Their problem this year is that they have had a major shortage of horses, and they barely fill 8 races a day.
It was announced that sometime in June, post times will be moved from 1:10 to 1:45.
Of course, I also argued that on Sundays it might be prudent to start racing at 12:30 so they can get the online gambler's first bucks. But having different post times might confuse too many horsemen and gamblers.
Now all Fort Erie has to do is drop takeouts on exactors and pick 3's and they'll be all set for some good growth.
Read Harlan Abbey's newest article on Fort Erie.