Check Your Soul favoured to win Queen's Plate
All eyes will be on Check Your Soul, the 3-1 early favourite who will attempt to earn trainer Roger Attfield a record ninth Queen's Plate victory on Sunday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 4:30 p.m. ET).
Check Your Soul will break from the No. 13 post, the same position Not Bourbon started from en route to giving Attfield his record-tying eighth win in this event in 2008.
"I just thought that would be a good idea," Attfield said of his post position. "All I know is I have a good horse.
"He's healthy and I expect him to run a good race, but it's still a horse race. I'm confident, but not over-confident."
Check Your Soul and Inglorious were among the 11 horses to strut their stuff to onlookers Monday at the Queen's Plate barbecue. Inglorious trainer Josie Carroll, for one, was impressed with 2011 Plate Trial Stakes winner, who comes in having won three of his last four starts.
"I thought he looked bigger and stronger [Monday] than when he ran last time," she said. "He'll certainly be a tough horse."
Favourites have traditionally fared well in the race, having won 22-of-55 renewals (40 per cent). However, Wando in 2003 and Eye of The Leopard in 2009 are the only favourites to emerge victorious the last 16 years.
Queen'splatekitten, the 7-2 second choice, drew the No. 14 post. The son of Kitten's Joy-Iteration is conditioned by Todd Pletcher, North America's top trainer who captured the '98 Queen's Plate with Archers Bay.
Pletcher will also send out Imhotep, who is winless in three career starts. What's more, Imhotep will start on the rail but his jockey will be two-time Queen's Plate winner Emile Ramsammy (Victor Cooley in 1996, Edenwold in 2006).
The last maiden to win this event was Scatter The Gold in 2000.While both Carroll and Pletcher have two horses in the race, trainer Mark Casse will send three to the starter's gate.
Carroll isn't superstitious, but the veteran trainer will have history on her side in the $1-million race at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.
Inglorious, one of two horses Carroll will send to the post, will be the lone filly in the 17-horse field. However, Inglorious is no shrinking violet, going off as the early 9-2 third choice for the 1¼-mile race Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack.
More importantly, she will be looking to continue a trend of fillies winning the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.
In 1991, Dance Smartly topped the field en route to the Triple Crown. Ten years later, her daughter and Canada's champion three-year-old filly, won the Queen's Plate. Dancethruthedawn is the last filly to land in the Queen's Plate winner's circle.
"No, I'm not superstitious, but that would be wonderful," Carroll said. "This is the race, as a Canadian trainer, you want to win.
"It was great to do it with Edenwold. And to come and do it again with a filly would be stupendous."
Carroll made Queen's Plate history in 2006 when she became the first female trainer to win the event, doing so with Edenwold. A repeat performance Sunday would make her the only woman to win this event twice.
'You need a heady jockey'
Inglorious is coming off a three-quarter length win in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 5. She's not only the field's leading money winner with $650,000 — four victories over six lifetime starts — but also perfect in four trips over Woodbine's Polytrack.
Inglorious drew the No. 9 post in the race draw Thursday at Woodbine, with Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos serving as guest drawmaster. Ontario Lieutenant-Governor David Only will attend the race Sunday.
Carroll's other horse will be Seawatch, one of three supplemented entries. Seawatch, a 20-1 pick, will leave the No. 12 spot with Slade Callaghan aboard.
Carroll was very matter of fact when asked what the biggest challenge racing in a 17-horse field presents.
"Traffic," she said. "I think getting out clean and quick will be very key for the filly."
"If you look at this race the last five years, the winner has always been placed in contention, so I think she needs to break and get position three or four off the lead and track the speed. It will depend very much on what kind of speed there is, who the pacesetter is.
"And I think you need a heady jockey in a 17-horse field."
Carroll certainly has that as Luis Contreras, Woodbine's leading rider this year, will be aboard Inglorious.
Strike Oil (15-1 odds) will go from the No. 7 post while Enduring Star (30-1) drew the No. 10 position and Hippolytus (30-1) got the No. 15 spot. Casse is a three-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada's top trainer but is still looking for his first career Plate victory.
The second leg of the Triple Crown is the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes on July 17 at Fort Erie, Ont. The final event is the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes turf race Aug. 7 at Woodbine.
Seven horses have captured the Triple Crown, the last being Wando in 2003.