It was a hot, humid Sunday as the Queen made her fourth appearance at Woodbine to enjoy the 151st running of the Queen's Plate. Following an exhausting wire-to-wire route by Big Red Mike, the Queen would present the the race trophy to jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva and the Terra Racing Stable in the winner's circle.
Her Royal Highness arrives on the E.P Taylor turf course
"Winning the Queen's Plate is great, but doing it with the Queen here is so special," said Da Silva. "It's a very, very special day."
Trainer Nicholas Gonzalez, a resident of Fort Erie, Ont., advised members of the press box that he had received numerous phone calls already from the border oval where the grandstand erupted to celebrate their new local hero.
Big Red Mike surges to the lead
It was the conditioners first Queen's Plate win in his first attempt. Such was the excitement that Gonzalez wasn't sure if he actually spoke to the Queen.
"Actually, I can't remember," laughed Gonazlez. "I don't think I said anything to her.
Eurico Rosa Da Silva raises his whip in celebration at the wire
Gonazlez watched the race near the finish line with his wife Martha (an assistant trainer to Big Red Mike) and their son. The moment, and their horse, passed so quickly, Gonzalez barely had time for it all to sink in. "My wife, son and I were jumping up and down so much that it's just kind of a blur in my eye right now," beamed Gonzalez.
Eurico receives the Queen's Plate trophy
The race itself was a grueling marathon. Big Red Mike raced through a mile in 1:38.74, with Hotep chasing just a length behind. As the field turned for home, the front runner found another gear and maintained his high cruising speed through the wire to best Hotep by one and one-half lengths in a final time of 2:04.89.
Big Red Mike and jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva celebrate as Hotep and Roan Inish chase in vain
The Woodbine Oaks winning filly, Roan Inish, put in a valiant effort rallying to finish third, just one and one-quarter lengths behind Hotep, while Giant's Tomb would finish fourth. The favoured Mobilizer faded to finish 10th.
Big Red Mike puts in a big effort to win the Queen's Plate
It was a fantastic day of racing at Woodbine and I'll be posting a proper photo essay early this week. For more on the Queen's Plate, click into my Woodbine News page for reports on the race from across the world wide web.