Trainer Mark Casse, a five-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada's top conditioner, will saddle four hopefuls in Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate, as he seeks his first win in Canada's most famous horse race.
Casse's hopes will ride on Plate Trial winner Dynamic Sky, Woodbine Oaks runner-up and champion two-year-old filly Spring in the Air, Jagger M and the lightly-raced Kaigun. The best finishes by Casse-trained horses in the ‘Gallop for the Guineas' have been by Hippolytus, who was second to Inglorious in 2011, and Dixie Strike, who finished third last year to Strait of Dover.
Twenty-five Plate Trial winners have gone on to win the mile and one-quarter Plate for Canadian-foaled three-year-olds, the last being Big Red Mike in 2010.
John Oxley's Dynamic Sky, who earlier this year was on the Kentucky Derby trail, outfought Plate rival His Race to Win by a nose in the June 9, mile and one-eighth Plate Trial, while being ridden by North America's leading rider Joel Rosario.
“It was a good race,” said Casse. “I thought (jockey) Joel (Rosario) rode him good but it took everything he had to get up in the last jump. Now he gets another eighth of a mile. I think he looks probably better now than earlier in the year. I would expect him to run well. Hopefully it will be good enough.”
“Draft” Draw to be Used for Plate
The “draft” style post position selection process will be utilized for the 154th running of the Queen's Plate on Thursday morning.
The draft draw, first used for the 1998 edition of the Plate, allows the owners and trainers of each runner in the race to choose their horse's post position.
The order of selection will be established by a random draw that is identical to the “pill pull” method used to determine Plate post positions before 1998.
After the selection sequence is drawn, owners and trainers will have a five minute consultation period to discuss their choice.
The “connections” will then, in order of the random draw, announce their post position selection.
PROBABLE FIELD FOR THE QUEEN'S PLATE (11)
COUNTY LINEMAN/Ginger Punch Racing/Mark Frostad/Alex Solis
DYNAMIC SKY/John Oxley/Mark Casse/Joel Rosario
HIS RACE TO WIN/Sam-Son Farms/Malcolm Pierce/John Velazquez
JAGGER M/Gabe Grossberg/Mark Casse/Shaun Bridgmohan
KAIGUN/Quintessential Racing, G. Barber, Horse'n Around/Mark Casse/Justin Stein
MIDNIGHT ARIA/Tucci Stables/Nick Gonzalez/Jesse Campbell
NIPISSING/Chiefswood Stable/Rachel Halden/Steve Bahen
PYRITE MOUNTAIN/Awesome Again Racing/Mark Frostad/Luis Contreras
RIVER SEVEN/Tucci Stables/Nick Gonzalez/Todd Kabel
SPRING IN THE AIR/John Oxley/Mark Casse/Gary Boulanger
UP WITH THE BIRDS/Sam-Son Farms/Malcolm Pierce/Eurico Rosa da Silva
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