Thursday, May 13, 2010

Queenston Stakes: All Contenders, No Pretenders as the Queen's Plate trail heats up

The field for the Queenston Stakes was announced on Wednesday afternoon. The seven furlong sprint came up strong as Sovereign Award winning Hollinger makes his debut in a talented field which includes wire-to-wire Woodstock Stakes winner Essence Hit Man.

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer
1 D's Wando (ON) 3/C L E Wilson 117 I Black
2 Hollinger (ON) 3/G L T Pizarro 121 R L Attfield
3 Fastin Bear (ON) 3/C L E R Da Silva 119 R Baker
4 Ghost Fleet (ON) 3/C L P Husbands 121 S C Attard
5 Stormy Lord (ON) 3/G L J McAleney 117 I Black
6 Essence Hit Man (ON) 3/G L C Sutherland 119 A Cappuccitti

Woodstock Stakes winner Essence Hit Man

Ian Black has two entered in this race including front-running Stormy Lord, the second place finisher in the Cup & Saucer and Coronation Futurity - who has been working well and learning to rate in the mornings - and D's Wando who was chasing down Essence Hit Man at the end of the six furlong Woodstock and then galloped well out in front.

Stormy Lord makes his 2010 debut in the Queenston

Fastin Bear, winner of the Simcoe Stakes over well regarded Mobthewarrior last fall, won his 2010 debut at Woodbine on April 3rd. A May 8th work of five furlongs in 59.40 proves the Reade Baker charge is ready to roll.

Ghost Fleet won the Swynford Stakes at this distance last September and was within two lengths of the winners in the G3 Grey Stakes won by Bear Tough Guy and the Coronation Futurity won by Hollinger. Ghost Fleet has been working steadily towards this event.

Hollinger wintered at Payson Park and then moved to Keeneand and eventually Woodbine as Attfield prepares the Winterbook favourite for the 2010 Queen's Plate. The gelding bulleted six furlongs in 1:11.60 on May 7th and is more than ready for the Queenston Stakes.

This is an exceptionally talented field featuring one clear pace setter (Essence Hit Man) and a bevy of stalkers waiting to pounce. The event is almost impossible to handicap though one has to worry that Essence Hit Man is going to be allowed to roll as lone speed and could sneak away with easy early fractions. This reads very much as a jockey's race to be won by the most cunning of this six-pack of pilots.

I am disappointed that I will be in New York instead of at Woodbine to watch this race live. (The disappointment compounded in that I also miss the first turf event of the season which includes Jungle Wave and El Bruno.)

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Granted, my disappointment at missing the Queenston will be picked up by the opportunity to watch Patrick Husbands and Milwaukee Appeal take on a short field in the Shuvee Stakes at Belmont Park. (Or will it be another jockey? How can Patrick ride at Belmont at 2:30PM and then be at Woodbine by 3:30PM?)

Milwaukee Appeal chilling out in her Woodbine stall

Just five horses will make the one mile trip for this G2 stakes.

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer
1 Seattle Smooth (KY) 5/M L J Rose 122 A W Dutrow
2 Don't Forget Gil (NY) 4/F L R Maragh 115 M A Hennig
3 Milwaukee Appeal (ON) 4/F L P Husbands 116 S H Fairlie
4 Funny Moon (KY) 4/F L A Garcia 117 C Clement
5 Solo Piano (KY) 5/M L* J Lezcano 114 W I Mott

Careless Jewel was nominated for the Shuvee but will not make the trip.

If you plan to be at Belmont on Saturday, drop me a line or send me a tweet!

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The Wednesday evening card was full of thrills. Sent to post at the 3-5 favourite, Bob Tiller's Amazon Belle broke well and then comfortably stalked the pace of Crimson Glory through a swift quart in 22 flat. After a half in 45, Amazon Belle was set down turning into the stretch and professionally put away Crimson Glory who held on well for place as a late rallying Shukriya galloped out well.

Amazon Belle asserts her authority

The seventh race marked the highly anticipated return of Not Bourbon. The 2008 Queen's Plate hero has been working up a storm and went to post as a generous even money favourite. Drunken Love led the field through the early going as Paso Doble stalked menacingly with Nor Bourbon a reserved third. Into the far turn, Drunken Love maintained a short lead as Patrick Husbands asked Paso Doble for more. The stretch run saw Drunken Love overtaken by Paso Doble who showed impressive turn of foot making Not Bourbon fight for ever inch of the champs eventual half-length win.

Not Bourbon sprints to victory following a long layoff

* By the way, you'll find another Queen's Plate winner - six year-old Mike Fox - racing in Woodbine's sixth race on Friday.

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How well do you know your Woodbine trainers?

Art Parker handicapped the Woodbine trainers in a piece for the Handicapper's Edge entitled, Woodbine 2010 preview -- trainer analysis of 2009:

Perhaps the top reason I am attracted to Woodbine is the length of the meet. The meet lasts slightly more than eight months, which allows a player to keep notes with a large sample of races available for research. It also gives the player a great opportunity to become familiar with the cast characters.

Trainers are creatures of habit. Some come into a race meeting with their guns loaded, while others take their time and run their horses into shape. When a trainer wants to have quick success he/she will usually do what works best for their barn and the best time to take note is in the early part of the meeting.

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Saturday will mark the 135th running of the Preakness Stakes...or will it? Web-based horse racing history buff concludes otherwise in a post that reviews the early years of the Preakness Stakes including those raced in New York entitled The Preakness and Revisionist History.

History is a strange thing as sometimes one man’s fact is another’s fiction. I can’t help but ask the question: Should the New York Preakness be counted in the official history of the race? The New York Times didn’t think so when the 1909 stakes schedule was reported for Pimlico. The writers for the Daily Racing Form in the 1920s (and other race writers of that era) likely knew about a race called the Preakness that was run in New York. However, they didn’t consider that race a continuation of the race started in Maryland in 1873. Furthermore, they didn’t consider the Preakness that started in 1909 in Maryland as a race that “moved” from New York.

It's a popular topic and one also covered, as noted in the blog above, by Brooklyn Backstretch proprietor Teresa Genaro

The Dinner Party Stakes went on to become the Dixie; three years after Preakness’s victory, his achievement was commemorated in a stakes race named for him, and the Preakness was born, first run in 1873, two years before the first Kentucky Derby.
By 1890 Maryland racing had fallen on hard times, and that year the Preakness moved northward, to Morris Park in the Bronx. It was held on Belmont Stakes day, and the winner that year was a horse named Montague. (You are not the only one saying, “Who?”)
The Preakness wasn’t run at all for the next three years; when it was renewed in 1894, the race had moved again, this time to the Gravesend track in Brooklyn, which it called home for the next fifteen years.

Best of luck to all the entrants in the of luck to all the entrants in the 2010 Preakness Stakes held this year at Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore.

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While I'm on a working vacation for the next seven days, I will continue to update the site as best I can. Regular features such as Entries/Results and Woodbine News will be updated daily. Given the magnitude of Saturday's Queenston Stakes, I will update the Queen's Plate contenders page later next week.

I'm working on a pair of Queen's Plate contender profiles that promise to be entertaining so check back daily.


Laura said...

I was really impressed with Not Bourbon in that he had to make such a long, sustained run. I thought it was a very promising performance from him off such a long layoff.

Keith-TripleDeadHeat said...

I agree Laura...he really dug in and showed his class to win.

Attfield's barn is loaded once again this meet and I can't wait to see how Hollinger has developed over the winter.