By Gene Kershner
TORONTO – The post position draw for Sunday’s 153rd running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate, North America’s oldest race took place in the walking ring at Woodbine Racetrack this morning. Strait of Dover (3-1) was made the morning line favorite with Plate Trial winner River Rush (4-1) made the second choice.
Here are some quick hitters from the post draw:
* The Honoray Drawmaster was Mark Tewksbury, a 1992 gold medalist for Canada in Barcelona. He won the 100 meter backstroke for his home country, the first swimming medal for Canada since 1984. He is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the International Swimming Hall of Fame and was named Canada's Male Athlete of the Year in 1992.
* Trainer Mark Casse sends out three horses in hopes of capturing the first Plate in his storied career. Casse will take the blinkers off of the filly Dixie Strike (8-1) after a poor performance in the Woodbine Oaks. He will also send out maiden winner Golden Ridge (6-1) and Making Amends (20-1).
* 8-time Queen's Plate winning trainer Roger Attfield, always the showman, selected Post No. 9 for Colleen's Sailor (15-1), in his attempt to extend his record Plate win total to nine and break a tie with Harry Giddings, Jr. Corey Nakatani gets the ride back from John Velazquez, who broke his collarbone in a spill at Churchill Downs last Saturday night. Ironically, Nakatani rode the colt in his last outing, an allowance win at Woodbine in late May.
* Some big name jockeys will be heading north to Woodbine this weekend, including Ramon Dominguez, who will ride Big Creek (10-1) for trainer Todd Pletcher, who will be seeking his second Plate victory. Pletcher won the 1998 edition of the race with Archers Bay with Kent Desormeaux aboard.
* Julien Leparoux, will make his first ever Plate appearance on Sunday. He will ride Peyton (20-1) for trainer Michael Doyle. Another New York-based rider making the trek up to Woodbine will be Rajiv Maragh who picks up the mount on the late entry of Washington Dash (50-1).
* The favorite, Strait of Dover, along with all of the other colts in the race will be riding at 126 pounds, more than 11 pounds heavier than his last win in the Marine Stakes over six weeks ago. His connections decided to skip the Plate Trial so the colt would be fresh for Sunday's big race.
* The two fillies in the race, Dixie Strike and Woodbine Oaks winner Irish Mission (10-1) will both carry 121 pounds.
* The Plate Trial winner River Rush (4-1) drew the rail for trainer Reade Baker, causing him to exclaim, "We're going to start from the one and finish number one."
The post position draw with trainer, jockey and morning line odds is included below:
|3||Macho Whiskey||Baker||E-J Wilson||15-1|
|4||Strait of Dover||Vella||Stein||3-1|
|10||Dixie Strike (f)||Casse||Husbands||8-1|
|11||Making Amends||Casse||da Silva||20-1|
|14||Irish Mission (f)||Frostad||Solis||10-1|