Halo Again Returns to Woodbine for Queen’s Plate
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The 161st edition of the Queen’s Plate will take place Saturday, September 12 at Woodbine Racetrack. The historic contest worth $1 million is open to three-year-olds bred in Canada, and is run over 1 ¼ miles on Woodbine’s synthetic main track.
A field of 14 have been entered for the Plate, which is the oldest continually run horse race in North America. While Clayton and Curlin’s Voyage are formidable rivals, Halo Again looks to do one better for trainer Steve Asmussen, who was third last year with Tone Broke. That runner went on to take the final two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales and the Breeders’ Stakes. Halo Again will look to make up for the one race he lost.
Halo Again, a $600,000 purchase by Speightstown, was second by a half-length in the Plate Trial here August 15 after winning the July 4 Queenston. Last year, he won the Coronation Futurity, and seeks to become the first horse since Norcliffe in 1976 to complete that double.
Curlin’s Voyage is trying to become the fifth filly to win the Queen’s Plate this decade, following Inglorious, Lexie Lou, Holy Helena, and Wonder Gadot since 2011. Curlin’s Voyage was the Sovereign Champion Two Year Old Filly of 2019, and has continued her winning ways this year with victories in the Fury Stakes and Woodbine Oaks. Patrick Husbands will ride the chestnut daughter of Curlin.
One of the big stories of the race is related trainers Sid and Kevin Attard trying to win their first Queens Plate trophy. Sid is Kevin’s uncle, and Kevin trains morning line favorite Clayton, who breaks from post 12. The son of Bodemeister has won three of four starts, including the Plate Trial last out, and his lone loss came after a seven-month layoff. Rafael Hernandez rides the bay colt, who was a strong allowance winner two back in July.
Kevin Attard’s other runner is the filly Merveilleux. She was third in the Woodbine Oaks after traffic trouble, and finished just a head behind Curlin’s Voyage last year as a juvenile. She is multiple stakes placed and has been top three in six of seven starts on this track. The daughter of Paynter will have Kazushi Kimura up.
Belichick will try to become the first maiden to win the Queen’s Plate since Scatter the Gold in 2000. The son of Lemon Drop Kid cost $300,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. Josie Carroll trains him, the one-eyed Mighty Heart, and Curlin’s Voyage.
Trainer Catherine Day-Phillips sends out two runners while seeking her first Plate victory. Popular Holyfield, who is missing part of an ear, broke his maiden last out on the grass in his sixth try. The son of Uncle Mo switches back to the main track for this. On the outside in stall 14 is Tecumseh’s War, a colt by Summer Front who will have jockey Emma Jayne Wilson up.
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