Tiz a Slam, the Queen’s Plate Winterbook favourite, will tackle a tough trio of Casse starters in the $150,000 Plate Trial.
The Tiznow bay will leave from the inside post in a field of six going 1 1/8-miles over the Woodbine main. Eurico Rosa da Silva will ride for Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield who is seeking a record ninth Queen’s Plate score.
Attfield believes the nine furlong distance is within range for Tiz a Slam.
“I think a mile and an eighth will be, whether a mile and a quarter is I don’t know. There’s a bit of a question mark in my mind, but that’s what the Trial is all about,” said Attfield. “I actually wanted to run him a bit this winter, but he went through a bit of a growing stage and he was a big colt in the first place. So, I didn’t get that achieved. But, right now we’re on target for the Trial.”
Attfield has won the Plate Trial seven times and four went on to win the Queen’s Plate including With Approval (1989), Izvestia (1990), Alydeed (1992) and Not Bourbon (2008).
To win the Plate Trial, Tiz a Slam will have to best a talented, but compact, field that includes the Casse trio of King and His Court, State of Honor and Expedition.
King and His Court boasts a record of four wins and four thirds from 12 career starts and is the most experienced horse in the field. Outside of a pair of off-the-board efforts in the United States over the winter, King and His Court has been ultra-consistent and arrives at the Plate Trial from a dominant score in the Wando Stakes. Gary Boulanger will ride.
“He’s been training great and Gary, who knows him so well, is so pleased with him. He just loves it at Woodbine,” said Sullivan.
Boulanger has partnered with King and His Court on three occasions at Woodbine winning the Coronation Futurity and Display Stakes as a juvenile in addition to the Wando win.
“Gary is a very patient, quiet rider and sometimes a horse and rider just have that relationship that clicks,” said Sullivan. “Gary is very confident in him and that’s also a big factor.”
State of Honor owns the opposite form of his stablemate. The To Honor and Serve bay has been okay at home but brilliant on the road where he finished second in both the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and Grade 1 Florida Derby earning a start in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby where he finished 19th after setting the early pace.
His lone score came in a seven furlong maiden event on the Woodbine Tapeta.
“He’s a lovely horse. He ran well on the Tapeta as a two-year-old but he really blossomed when he got on the dirt this winter in Florida,” said Sullivan. “He’s been training very well and we couldn’t ask him to be doing any better. There’s that little question mark (of Tapeta), but the Trial will answer that question.”
Expedition, a dark bay son of Pioneerof the Nile, raced three times at Gulfstream Park for trainer Todd Pletcher without hitting the board. After being transferred to the Casse outfit and shipping north to Woodbine, Expedition has raced twice finishing eighth on April 28 before graduating in a driving finish last time out in a 1 1/16-maiden allowance.
“We haven’t had him that long and his first race at Woodbine wasn’t as impressive as we had hoped. He had been training well, but showed nothing. And then he came back next time out and ran a great race and won very nicely. Hopefully he’s turned around now and things will keep going that way,” said Sullivan.
FIELD FOR THE $125,000 PLATE TRIAL
POST / HORSE / JOCKEY / TRAINER
1 / Tiz a Slam / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Roger Attfield
2 / King and His Court / Gary Boulanger / Mark Casse
3 / State of Honor / Patrick Husbands / Mark Casse
4 / Expedition / Florent Geroux / Mark Casse
5 / Guy Caballero / Rafael Hernandez / Catherine Day Phillips
6 / Avie’s Mesa / Luis Contreras / Josie Carroll