Backing a filly to take the Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine
The oldest continually run stakes race run in North American will occur at Woodbine on Saturday when 14 sophomores will go postward in the 161st edition of the C$1 million Queen’s Plate. Run at 1 1/4 miles on the synthetic surface, the classic contest attracted a fine field and promises to be a thrilling event.
Trainer Kevin Attard has been one of the top conditioners in Canada for more than a decade, but he has yet to secure a win in the nation’s biggest race. That could all change on Saturday when he sends out a pair of live contenders.
Morning-line choice #12 Clayton (2-1) is once-beaten and comes off a measured tally in the Plate Trial S. on the course. Bodemeister colt has shown great versatility in winning at distancs from 5 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, and he will be difficult to upend if he moves forward off of his latest venture.
Second from the Attard shedrow is my top pick, the Paynter filly #2 Merveilleux (10-1). The $150,000 juvenile purchase has come close in her previous four black-type affairs and seems poised for a breakthrough on Saturday. A close runner-up in both the Ontario Lassie S. and Princess Elizabeth S. at two, the bay was equipped with blinkers last time out and ran an impressive third in the Woodbine Oaks despite a poor break and encountering traffic in early stretch.
Merveilleux has put in a pair of solid morning drills in the interim led by a bullet half-mile move in her most recent work. The Ontario-bred has a trio of route races under her belt to be dead fit for the Queen’s Plate, and she also has the versatility in her running style to sit a good trip under Kimura. I expect the filly to rate a few lengths off the early tempo while saving ground, prior to moving into contention turning for home.
- $20 Win and Place: #2 Merveilleux ($40)
- $10 Exacta: Box 2-12 ($20)
- $1 Trifecta: 2 with all with 12 ($12)