Inglorious is 34th filly to win Queen's Plate
The girl showed Sunday she's not only capable of running with the boys, she can beat them, too.
Sitting 10th through three-quarters of a mile, Inglorious showed a fabulous late kick to capture an impressive 2 1/2-length win in the $1-million Queen's Plate at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.
Inglorious is the 34th filly to win the Queen's Plate and allowed trainer Josie Carroll to become the only woman to win this event twice. In 2006, she won with Edenwold.
"Overwhelming," is how Carroll described Inglorious' victory in the 17-horse field.
Inglorious captured the $600,000 winner's share for owner Donver Stable, winning the 152nd running of the 1 ¼-mile race in 2:02.63 on the polytrack.
Hippolytus, a 60-1 longshot, was second and Pender Harbour took third.
"This is amazing. She's amazing. She do everything," Mexican-born jockey Luis Contreras said of Inglorius in an interview with CBC Sports racing analyst Renee Kierans. "She's got something special. She likes to run, she likes to win. That's an amazing feeling."
The victory was Inglorious's third straight and fifth in seven career starts, boosting her overall earnings past $1.2 million. Not a bad return considering Inglorious was a $90,000 yearling purchase.
Butterflies in stomach
The 25-year-old Contreras spent the previous two years watching the race from the jockeys' room before finally earning his first career Plate mount.
"This means a lot," said a beaming Contreras. "Before the race I had butterflies in my stomach and after it I screamed like I've never screamed before."
Almost from the outset of the race, Contreras — Woodbine's leading rider this year — was content to sit back in the pack and bide his time. With about two-and-a-half furlongs left, favourite Check Your Soul made a move but couldn't sustain it, opening the door for Contreras and Inglorious.
"When I saw him in front of me I just tried to follow him because I know he has a lot of horse," Contreras said. "I wasn't in a hurry off the start.
"She relaxed all the way and was waiting for me to ask and when I asked she went. She's more than amazing."
CBC Sports racing analyst Jim Bannon believes it's a great tactic to be as confident as Contreras and to put your horse in traffic behind the favourite.
"As a rider," he said, "you sometimes want to put those horses a little closer than they really want to be, but I thought Contreras handled himself very well. He likes to wait and this is a waiting race track. He often rides and makes the last move in the race just like he did today."
Carroll thought Inglorious had a chance to break free once the horse responded to Contreras's move.
Said Bannon: "She came through the stretch very, very nicely and suddenly she found another gear. You could tell there was something else there. She finished with a great deal of verve."
Inglorious owners Vern and Donna Dubinsky of Alberta were almost left speechless by the performance of Inglorious, who became only the fifth filly to win the Woodbine Oaks and Queen's Plate.
"I'm just thrilled to death. It's just like a dream. I'm not sure I believe it yet," Vern told Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports. "I've got my grandkids home watching and they'll be cheering and probably crying, too. It's just amazing."
"Josie's a fantastic trainer," added Donna. "Luis, I don't even have words for you. He's unbelievable. It's a great team."
Inglorious continued a 10-year trend for fillies in this event, North America's oldest continuously run stakes race.
In 1991, Dance Smartly topped the race field en route to the Triple Crown. Ten years later Dancethruthedawn, Dance Smartly's daughter and Canada's champion three-year-old filly, captured the Queen's Plate and had been the last filly to win Canada's most prestigious thoroughbred race.
Ontario Lieutenant-Governor David Onley headlined the list of dignitaries present on a muggy, overcast afternoon.
The race is the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown. The second leg 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.