June 24, 2012
The $1 million Queen's Plate Stakes at Woodbine, the first jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown, is North America's oldest continuously-run stakes race, celebrating its 153rd renewal, and is contested at 1 1/4 miles over the Polytrack. Unfortunately, due to the current political situation in Ontario, many believe this will be the last Queen's Plate to be run. It was a damp afternoon, with dark overcast skies, intermittent showers, temperatures in the mid 70's, but a brief downpour coincided with the winner's circle ceremonies. Plate Trial winner River Rush was sent off as the lukewarm 7-2 favorite in the field of 14. In to challenge him included 38-10 second choice Strait of Dover, winner of three straight including the Marine last out, and 4-1 third choice Golden Ridge, off his maiden win.
Strait of Dover went to the lead and he set fractions of 23.85, 47.74, and 1:12.31 over the fast Polytrack while pressed by 22-1 Colleen's Sailor and stalked by 19-1 Macho Whiskey and 25-1 Classic Bryce. Entering the stretch, Stein loosened the reins allowing Strait of Dover to extend his lead to 2 1/2 lengths through 1 mile in 1:37.07. Irish Mission, 7th early, and 6-1 Dixie Strike, last early, put in strong late rallies but Strait of Dover was well clear, finishing up 1 1/4 lengths in front of Irish Mission in a new track record time of 2:01.99. It was another 3 3/4 lengths back to Dixie Strike third. The time was just 0.19 seconds off 1990 Triple Crown winner Izvestia's record set over the old dirt surface.
Check out the five other stakes on the card: the King Edward (G2) won by Riding the River, the Highlander Stakes (G2) won by Smokey Fire, the Singspiel Stakes (G3) won by Musketier, the My Dear Stakes won by Just Got In, and the Trillium Stakes won by Stars to Shine.