By Gene Kershner
TORONTO -- On Thursday morning, Woodbine Racetrack officials held the post position draw for the 154th running of the Queen's Plate, Canada's most famous race. The field is set as 12 horses will be going postward on Sunday afternoon in a race for 3-year-olds foaled in Canada over a mile and one quarter on the polytrack. Post time for the 10th race is 5:38 p.m.
Up With the Birds (2-1) was made the morning line favorite for trainer Malcolm Pierce. Two fillies, Nipissing (7-2) and Spring in the Air (10-1), who finished 1-2 in the Woodbine Oaks will seek to become the 35th filly to capture the Queen's Plate.
Trainer Mark Casse will send four horses to the gate looking for his first Plate win in a career that has earned him five Sovereign Awards as the top trainer in Canada.
Fort Erie-based trainer Nick Gonzalez, who won in 2010 with Big Red Mike, entered two colts for Tucci Stables.
Last year's winning jockey Justin Stein, who won aboard Strait of Dover, will ride Casse's colt Kaigun (20-1), a horse with only three career starts.
The race has attracted top jockeys, John Velazquez who will ride His Race to Win (10-1) and Joel Rosario who will be in the irons on Dynamic Sky (4-1).
Jockey Jim McAleney will ride Rackman (50-1) and try to win his first Queen's Plate in his 19th attempt. Gary Boulanger will ride Spring in the Air, as long as Dynamic Sky does not scratch, topping off a comeback from a life-threatening injury suffered in 2005 that put his career on hold.
My advance on the race will be in Sunday's print edition and a post race recap in Monday's Buffalo News. Here's a look at the full field for the 2013 Queen's Plate:
|4||Spring in the Air (f)||Casse||Rosario (*)||10-1|
|7||Up With the Birds||Pierce||da Silva||2-1|
|11||His Race to Win||Pierce||Velazquez||10-1|
|(*) Gary Boulanger, if
Dynamic Sky does not scratch