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Queen’s Plate Draw Held; Haskell Invites Go Out
Queen’s Plate Draw Held
The Canadian Triple Crown gets underway this weekend with the $1M Queen’s Plate at Woodbine on Saturday. Reigning Canadian champion 2-year-old male Avie’s Flatter drew the outside post in a field of 14 and was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite.
The Queen’s Plate winter-book favorite, Avie’s Flatter looked impressive in his season opener, winning the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland. He struggled with the course and a close sixth in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill. That May 4 race on Kentucky Derby Day was his last start, and he will compete for the first time in eight weeks in the Plate. Javier Castellano retains the mount.
“We thought about running him in the Plate Trial, but we want to go in with a fresh horse,” trainer Josie Carroll told drf.com.
One Bad Boy ships in from Southern California off a second in the one-mile Alcatraz Stakes over Golden Gate’s Tapeta. Trainer Richard Baltas is taking the blinkers off, hoping the ridgling will relax enough to stay the 10-furlong distance of the Plate. The likely pacesetter under Derby-winning rider Flavien Prat, he starts from post 5 as the 7-2 second choice.
Kentucky-based Tone Broke is making his first start on a synthetic surface off a second in the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico to King for a Day, who came back to upset Maximum Security in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Tone Broke, a 6-1 on the morning line, will break from post 11 under Luis Contreras.
Desert Ride, the lone filly in the lineup, rates next in line at 8-1 from post 1. She went back to her Churchill base after capturing the June 8 Woodbine Oaks in her first Tapeta outing under Steven Bahen, who took the 2002 Plate on the rank outside T J’s Lucky Moon. Neil Howard trains her for Sam-Son Farm, which has won the Plate with two fillies, Dance Smartly and her daughter Dancethruthedawn.
Haskell Invites Top 3-Year Olds
The Haskell Invitational often attracts the cream of the proverbial crop, and this summer is no different. Maximum Security, regarded as one of the premier 3-year olds in training, is headlining the list of horses invited to run in the crown jewel of the Monmouth meet by racing secretary John F. Heims.
NBC will televise the Grade 1 Haskell, which is a mile and an eighth and is for 3-year-olds. The Haskell has a $1 million purse.
All three Triple Crown race winners were formally invited, along with Maximum Security, who was the first horse to be disqualified after winning the Kentucky Derby.
Jason Servis trains Maximum Security, and the horse is stabled at Monmouth Park. He will be trying to re-assert his dominance after an inconsistent 3-year-old season.
Bob Baffert has four horses that were invited, including recent Affirmed Stakes victor Mucho Gusto and the 2018 Juvenile champion Game Winner. Oceanport has become a sort of second home for Baffert, and he has claimed a record 8 Haskells. His horses won in 2015 (American Pharoah), 2014 (Bayern), 2012 (Paynter), 2011 (Coil), 2010 (Lookin at Lucky), 2005 (Roman Ruler), 2002 (War Emblem) and 2001 (Point Given).
As an added bonus for those trainers with an eye towards the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Haskell Invitational has once again been classified as a “Win and You’re In” race.
Maximum Security had three stablemates from trainer Jason Servis’ barn that also received invitations to the Haskell. Direct Order, Final Jeopardy, and Grumps Little Tots also received invitations, giving Servis quite the successful string.
After winning two of the local Haskell prep races, two additional horses were offered invitations: Joevia, trained by Monmouth Park-based Gregg Sacco and the winner of the Long Branch Stakes, and King for a Day, who is trained by Tod Pletcher and previously managed to defeat Maximum Security by a length in the Pegasus Stakes.