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Monday, June 25, 2012

Plate Day 2012

Plate Winner Strait of Dover
(Photo Courtesy: Woodbine Media Office)
There was no doubting the ride Justin Stein gave Strait of Dover yesterday in the Queen's Plate. He flat out believed in his horse and the colt took him to new heights setting a polytrack record in Canada's most famous race.

 It was a fun day at Woodbine Racetrack where a healthy crowd attended Sunday's first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at Woodbine Racetrack. It was actually my first ever Plate appearance, it seems like I always had some type of commitment on Plate day, but after driving 5 hours from central Pennsylvania in the morning, I headed north to cover the race for TBN arriving in time for the 7th race. A special thanks to the @NiagaraBridges twitter account that steered me clear of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge to the Rainbow Bridge to avoid a longer delay. Twitter can be more than just a time-waster sometimes.

Some things I enjoyed about my day yesterday:

* The hospitality and outgoing media folks at Woodbine. They could give a course on how to treat folks that are covering your sport. I always enjoy going up to Woodbine despite my hatred of the bridges.
* 20 cent Pick 3's. I would have lost my arse if I was just betting my regular 50 cent P-3. In the P-3 through the Plate I backed up my 60 cent P3 play with a 3,6/ALL/4,7,10 and caught a bomb in the middle leg with Rush Spots (24-1) that saved my main play and put us in the black for the day. I was also lucky that the higher priced Musketier edged out even money Simmard at the wire in the first leg.
* The pageantry was pretty cool to check out. Having the Canadian Mounties doing their thing was fun to watch (see picture below).
* Watching horses drive down the long stretch at Woodbine (especially the turf course) is very exciting, at one point in an earlier race I believe there were 5 horses alongside each other in the stretch. Riveting stuff.
* The walking ring. It's a very nice ring with plenty of room to move around with beautiful trees and the backdrop of the enormous Woodbine plant.
* Seeing a familiar face, Sam Pendolino, from Buffalo Raceway, who was giving me his horse flesh selections in the paddock and he was right on.

It's just a neat place to watch a race and it was certainly bustling with people yesterday, I can vouch for it based on where I had to park!

My recap of the race for TBN can be found here and my advance on trainer Mark Casse with my selections is here. I left out Irish Mission and missed on Golden Ridge, but did have the other three horses (Strait of Dover, Dixie Strike and Colleen's Sailor) in my top four selections, so I wasn't too far off. Strait of Dover was a bargain at 3.80-1, that's for sure.

I hope Strait of Dover gives Fort Erie a go, it would be a shame if the Plate winner skipped the Prince of Wales for the second year in a row. The race is scheduled for Sunday, July 15 at the border oval and is the highlight race of the meet. If not, another duel between the two fillies would be the next best thing. Listening to the connections yesterday, however, and  based on the colt's difficulties over the dirt track at Hastings, I'm not so sure that they will give it a sporting chance.

Here are some photos from the day up in the great white north:

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
10-year-old Musketier before the
Grade 3 Singspiel
Gate Break in the Singspiel
Musketier holds off Simmard at the wire
The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
David C. Olney in the Royal Box
Patrick Husbands heads toward his
mount Dixie Strike
Ramon Dominguez with
Big Creek
Emma-Jane Wilson getting
ready to ride Macho Whiskey
Julien Leparoux flew in to ride Peyton
(note the Jermaine Bridgmohan lid)
Corey Nakatani and Hall of Fame
Trainer Roger Attfield
Trainer Mark Casse still
looking for his first Plate, standing
with Dixie Strike owner John Oxley
Giant Temporary Scoreboard
overlooking the paddock
Fourth Place Finisher
Colleen's Sailor
Third Place Finisher
Dixie Strike
Second Place Finisher
and Oaks champ Irish Mission
The Champ Strait of Dover
looking like a million bucks
That's a wrap on Queen's Plate 2012, it was a good one!



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