News and STORIES

Sir Winston Injured, Canada’s Main Attraction Ready to Go

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Friday June 21, 2019

Sir Winston on the Shelf
Sir Winston, the Belmont Stakes winner, will join Country House, the Kentucky Derby winner, on the sidelines at least through the major races in the 3-year-old division this summer.

Trainer Mark Casse said Sir Winston is dealing with an injury to his left front ankle and will be out of training for a little while. Shortly after the Belmont Stakes, Casse brought Sir Winston to his farm in Ocala, Fla., where he is simply walking.

“I’m not going to rush him,” Casse told “It will keep us out of the Travers for sure. My plan is to have him ready for the fall, with the Pegasus in mind.”

Casse was referring to the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in late January. In 2019, the purse of that race was $9 million.

Sir Winston has run five times this year, starting with a fourth-place finish in the Withers at Aqueduct in February. He finished second to Global Campaign in the Peter Pan at Belmont on May 11 before taking the Belmont Stakes by one length on June 8. When Casse does put Sir Winston back in training, he plans to use an Aquatred, an underwater treadmill.

Sir Winston joins Country House on the shelf for the summer. Last weekend, trainer Bill Mott said Country House would be out of training for 60 days, and he does not plan to run him again this year.

That leaves Preakness winner War of Will to carry the mantle for the spring classic winners. Casse said War of Will is at Keeneland and will be based at Saratoga during the summer. Casse said War of Will could run in the Jim Dandy on July 27 or simply train up to the Travers on Aug. 24. Casse said he does not plan on running War of Will in the Haskell on July 20 at Monmouth Park.

Queen’s Plate Field Takes Shape
Pay for Peace, owned by Team Penney Racing and Carem Stables, will arrive at the $1 million Queen’s Plate set for Saturday, June 29, off an impressive score in the Plate Trial Stakes. Trained by Rachel Halden, the 3-year-old son of Silent Name stalked the pace and eventually drove clear to pull off the 19-1 upset in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial.

It was the first win from three starts in 2019 and second victory in eight races for Pay for Peace.

The Trial performance turned a date in the Plate from a question mark to a definitive answer for the gelding’s connections.

“Off that last race, he deserves a chance, doesn’t he?” Halden, a former steeplechase rider told Woodbine publicity. “It wasn’t expected (the Plate Trial triumph), but we were hopeful of it. We’ve always believed in him, and that’s why we’ve kept him eligible for the Plate. His first two races this year, they weren’t terrible, but they weren’t exactly what we were looking for to keep our Plate dream alive. That was put on the back burner. After his last race, it was put right back on the front burner.”

And now, the heat will be turned up even more in Canada’s most famous horse race.

Contested over 1 1/4-miles on the Woodbine main track, the Queen’s Plate is shaping up to be a wide-open affair. Halden is happy to see her charge in the mix for all the spoils.

Rafael Hernandez, who was aboard for the Ontario-bred’s initial score, will be reunited with the dark bay for the 160th edition of the ‘Gallop for the Guineas.’

The multiple graded stakes-winning rider has 2,443 career wins and more than $38 million in purse earnings. He teamed with Shaman Ghost to win the 2015 Queen’s Plate.