|Dan Loiselle with Draw Master Alex Anthopoulos|
No road records were set although we made some nice time up the Queen Elizabeth Way from the Queen City, after an unprecedented zero car delay entering the Great White North. Keith of Triple Dead Heat was prodding me later in the day to see if I could try for a Saratoga-like 3:59 equivalent. The bridge factor is just too much of a wild card. But 1:45 has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
As for the breakfast and event set-up, all I can say is the folks at Woodbine Entertainment know how to do it right. From a terrific press kit, the friendliest media staff you'll ever meet and a great venue, they certainly have it all together. The only thing I'd change is the old-fashioned "pill-pull" which takes forever and a day when you have a field size of 17. But if that's the worst of it, I'll take it any day.
Dan Loiselle ran an efficient and interesting draw as the master of ceremonies. He has one of the most distinctive voices in racing, and he's a good guy to boot. I found the draw master's story to be very interesting. Alex Anthopoulos is currently the Senior Vice-President, Baseball Operations and General Manager for the Toronto Blue Jays. The 34-year old self-proclaimed "fanatic" worked his way up from being the guy answering fan mail for the Montreal Expos to one of the highest positions you can achieve in major league baseball. He has a difficult job putting fannies in the seats at the Rogers Centre. He appears to have no fear when it comes to making trades, you gotta love that. During the draw, I thought he was very engaging and quite humble regarding his new found success.
As for the draw itself, I thought Pender Harbour (PP5) and Inglorious (PP9) are both in good spots. Interesting twist that the most likely top two favorites, Attfield's Check Your Soul (PP13) and Pletcher's Queen'splatekitten (PP14) are outside beside each other. The field of 17 will be the second largest field size of the year in North America behind the Kentucky Derby (19). Chad Brown's Bowman's Causeway intrigues me, as does West Point's Enduring Star. It should be a fun race to watch.
I was told all week long by my Canadian counterparts that my predecessor at the News, the late Bob Summers (the Happy Handicapper), used to call the Queen's Plate, the prep race for the Prince of Wales. What more can you say? The man was a classic.
Enjoy the race.
(P.S. It took us 3 hours to get home - damn bridge).