Prince Raphael, a three-year-old son of Shakespeare, will not contest Sunday’s 153rd running of the Queen’s Plate.
Owned by Cristina and Oslen Belle, and Doug Reddington, trained by Debbie England and to have been ridden by Richard Dos Ramos, Prince Raphael fashions a record of one win and two thirds from four career starts.
“He came out of his last work with an injury,” said England, who won the 2008 Breeders’ Stakes with Marlang. “We’re uncertain on the timing of his return.”
Currently, the field for the Plate stands at 14.
WASHINGTON DASH SEEKS MONUMENTAL MAIDEN SCORE
Washington Dash, trained by Darrin Miller for Silverton Hill LLC, will try to become the first maiden to win the Queen’s Plate since Scatter the Gold, who captured the 1 1/4-mile Canadian classic in 2000.
Bred in Ontario at Sam-Son Farm, the lightly-raced son of Smart Strike put in a solid effort two starts back when fourth in a 1 1/8-mile turf event at Churchill, on May 20, and last time out closed quickly for show in a one-mile turf tilt at Arlington, on June 10.
“In his last race, I thought he was the best horse in the race,” said Miller. “I was very pleased with him because he closed into a pace that was very slow, but it was a fast finish so I was pleased with that. I’d like to have seen him win that, but I think he gained a lot educationally from that and I thought it was a good prep.”
Washington Dash was purchased for $150,000 at the September Yearling Sale in Keeneland as a potential Kentucky Derby horse, but was something of a slow starter.
“He was very quirky when we first received him as a two-year-old, so we had to spend a lot of one-on-one time with him,” noted Miller. “A lot of these Smart Strike’s can be that way, but when they turn the corner they get real forward and can be real business-like. He has been consistent since the spring of this year.”
The dark bay colt will arrive at Woodbine on Friday morning along with his Silverton Hills LLC-owned stablemate Havelock, a rousing winner of last year’s Grade 2 Play the King Stakes, who will contest the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes.
“We’d love to see the same result,” laughed Miller. “Both horses are coming up there in good order.”
GOLDEN RIDGE COULD TAKE ACTION IN PLATE
Trainer Mark Casse, who has yet to win the Queen’s Plate in his distinguished career, will have three chances to do so on Sunday.
In addition to the filly Dixie Strike and Making Amends, he will also saddle Melnyk Racing Stables’ Golden Ridge, who will be making just his fourth career start.
A homebred by Distorted Humor out of Eugene Melnyk’s multiple graded stakes winner Indian Vale, Golden Ridge enters off an impressive maiden score May 13 over one and one-sixteenth miles on Woodbine’s Polytrack.
He’ll be ridden once again by Luis Contreras, who won last year’s Plate aboard Inglorious.
“This horse is the whole package. He’s one of the best-bred horses in the race,” exclaimed Casse, who finished second in last year’s Plate with 61-1 Hippolytus. “I don’t think there’s any question this horse won’t have a problem going a mile and a quarter. I keep throwing new things at him and he keeps saying he likes it. I was impressed with his maiden win because he got in a little traffic down the backside. I was a little concerned. But when Luis asked him to go, he took off. I think that experience of being in traffic is really going to help him in the Queen’s Plate.”
Melnyk won the 1998 Plate with Archers Bay, a colt he co-owned with R. Bristow Farm.
POST TIME SET FOR 12 NOON
Reminder that first race post time for Sunday’s 153rd Queen’s Plate card is set for 12 noon.
PROBABLE FIELD FOR THE 153RD QUEEN’S PLATE (14)
Big Creek/Green Hills Farm Inc./Todd Pletcher/Ramon Dominguez
Classic Bryce/Bill Sorokolit/ Darwin Banach/Todd Kabel
Colleen’s Sailor/Terra Di Sienna Stables/Roger Attfield/Corey Nakatani
Dixie Strike/John Oxley/Mark Casse/Patrick Husbands
Golden Ridge/Melnyk Racing Stables Inc./Mark Casse/Luis Contreras
Irish Mission/Robert Evans/Mark Frostad/Alex Solis
Making Amends/Quintessential Racing Fla., et al/Mark Casse/Eurico Rosa da Silva
Macho Whiskey/Harlequin Ranches/Reade Baker/Emma-Jayne Wilson
Peyton/Windhaven/Mike Doyle/Julien Leparoux
River Rush/Stronach Stables/Reade Baker/Jim McAleney
Strait of Dover/Canyon Farms/Dan Vella/Justin Stein
Ultimate Destiny/Brenda Selwyn-Waxman/Mike Keogh/Steven Bahen
Washington Dash/Silverton Hill LLC/Darrin Miller/Rajiv Maragh
Wilcox/Melnyk Racing Stables Inc./Josie Carroll/TBA