The annual Queen's Plate BBQ was held on Monday afternoon in the walking ring at beautiful Woodbine Racetrack. The event provides an opportunity for the connections of the Plate entrants to meet and greet as well as a chance for local media to snap photos of the horses and interview the people who train them.
I enjoy this time of year as the Toronto papers spend a great deal of time covering the sport of horse racing. Let's take a look at some of the stories:
Beverly Smith of the Globe & Mail has two nice pieces in print including a look at a pair of contenders sleeping under the same roof in Barn 25 namely,Big Red Mike and the filly Roan Inish.
(Click these links to find my posts profiling Carolyn Costigan, Roan Inish and Big Red Mike.)
Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star wrote a piece about the Queen's likely Plate pick, Mobilizer.
Bill Tallon of the Daily Racing Form provided the latest news on the contenders including the sad news that Artic Fern is out of the Plate due to a shoulder injury. This is the second year in a row we've seen a potential Queen's Plate favourite lose out to injury at the last minute - last year Ian Black's Southdale missed the plate with a shoulder injury. Supporters of Artic Fern should take heart in the fact that Southdale is now back and stronger than ever.
(Click on the link to read my post on the excellent Artic Fern.)
Blogger/Writer/Darley School student Kelsey Riley is busy on her TurfBeat blog with a variety of stories - some of which will appear in the Blood-Horse this week.
Andrew Carlson is keeping pace on his Ontario Horse Racing blog and I'd expect a fair bit of handicapping from the astute selector this week.
Writer/Blogger/Editor Jennifer Morrison is posting daily and there are photos galore on the website of Cindy Pierson Dulay and her affable assistant extraordinaire Terence.
Even the trainers are keeping the public well informed. Carolyn Costigan is Tweeting while Roger Attfield's website is updating regularly. Are there other trainers online that I'm missing?
Not least to mention, the official Woodbine Entertainment Group Queen's Plate page is filled to the brim with photos, news and more.
I'll keep my Woodbine News page updated with links throughout the week as more stories are sure to surface. As well, I have posts prepared for the rest of the week that will profile all the entrants in 2010 Queen's Plate.
Which leads us to the big question - who is confirmed for the Queen's Plate? Here's an alphabetical list:
Confirmed (12): Big Red Mike, D's Wando, Dark Cloud Dancer, Ghost Fleet, Giant's Tomb, Hotep, Mobilizer, Mobthewarrior, Roan Inish, Smart Sky, Vicar Street and Who We Gunna Call
On the bubble (3): Captain Canuck, Embur's Song, Moment of Majesty
Embur's Song and Moment of Majesty are both nominated for the Bison City Stakes which is the second jewel in the Canadian Triple Tiara, while gelding Captain Canuck is still undecided despite a five furlong workout on Monday in 1:01 under jockey David Clark.
Many contenders have been getting in final preps for the Plate. Sam-Son Farms trio Hotep (1:13.60), Dark Cloud Dancer (1:14.40) and Giant's Tomb (1:14.40) worked six furlongs together on Sunday and you can watch the workout by clicking here.
Here's a quick list of other recent workouts:
* Who We Gunna Call breezed five furlongs on the Woodbine poly in 1:00.80 on June 28th. Rank 9/50.
* Ghost Fleet bullet breezed five furlongs on the Woodbine poly in 59 flat on June 28th. Rank 1
* Mobthewarrior breezed six furlongs on the Woodbine poly in 1:16 on June 27th. Rank 4/5.
* Vicar Street breezed five furlongs on the Woodbine poly in 1:00.80 on June 26th. Rank 5/55.
For more workout / result information, click into my 2010 Queen's Plate contenders page.
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And now for a few photos from the festivities as many of the Queen's Plate contenders were paraded through the walking ring to meet the press.
This is what it's all about...oh, and meeting the Queen!
I think I know who Down The Stretch associate editor Eleanor Yeoman-LeBlanc likes in the Plate!
Ghost Fleet's natural speed might put a scare into some contenders
Roger Attfield has eight Queen's Plate victories...will Mobilizer be #9?
D's Wando and his crew
Fashionable trio Skippy Jeff Bowen, Emma-Jayne Wilson and Ian Black
Vicar Street hopes to break his maiden in style
Mobthewarrior represented in the walking ring
Smart Sky is a flexible guy
Dark Cloud Dancer and his proud groom Chico
Filly Roan Inish isn't worried one bit about taking on the boys
The Costigan's practice for Sunday's win photo
Track photographer Mike Burns Jr. had a great idea for a shot and asked jockeys Emile Ramsammy, Emma-Jayne Wilson, Jono Jones and Richard Dos Ramos to to fight for the Queen's Plate trophy.
Emma wants this trophy all to herself
Dos thinks that's a funny idea
Third times a charm!
It's worth noting that Ramsammy won the Plate with Victor Cooley and Edenwold; Wilson garnered Guineas with Mike Fox; Jono Jones helped Attfield to his eighth Plate score aboard Not Bourbon; and Richard Dos Ramos hasn't won a Plate but he has won the Molson Million and Canadian International with Benburb and Thornfield which is nothing to sneeze at!
If pictures didn't do the trick for you, here's video from the event courtesy of the Toronto Sun.
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Keep checking back throughout the week as I'll be posting new contender profiles and I'll also be reporting live from the Queen's Plate post position draw on Thursday morning via Twitter.