It was back in 1860 that Canada’s oldest Thoroughbred horse race first took place. The Queen’s Plate has gone on to become North America’s oldest continually run race. This year it takes place at Woodbine on August 21st again being run later in the year after it proved to be such a success last year.

Queen Victoria was the monarch who gave support to the race, though the actual prize is a near-foot high gold cup. The Queen was a fan of betting on horse racing, probably not as much as Queen Elizabeth II who owns several top-class horses and has travelled to Canada to see the race take place on four occasions. That’s two times less than The Queen Mother (another horse racing fan) attended the race.

The past seven years have seen the race won by a different trainer. The only one to have two wins in the past eight runnings of the race is Mark E Casse, who had trained the winner in both 2014 and 2018.

Eurico Rosa da Silva is the last jockey to win the race in two successive years. That feat was achieved in 2009 and 2010.

The USA are a third of the way through their Triple Crown. That got off to shock start with 80/1 shot Rich Strike winning the Kentucky Derby. Canada was represented in that race by Messier and it didn’t go well for the three-year-old.

Bred in Ontario, Messier was included in the list of 100 nominees for the 2022 Canadian Triple Crown. Early odds for the Queen’s Plate had Messier as the favourite. That looked a good bet after three wins from five races. That included a Grade 3 success at Santa Anita and it wasn’t close, Messier won that race by 15 lengths.

Messier has had two runs this year, the first seeing him finish second in the Santa Anita Derby. Then came the Kentucky Derby on May 7 and if winning that it’d have made a great movie. However, the Tim Yakteen trained runner could only finish 15th of the 20 runners. The strong pace of the race may have been the undoing of Messier.

The second leg of the American Triple Crown was the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 21. It’ had already been confirmed that Messier would not participate in that race. A campaign for Messier is in the planning stages and that could well see the runner heading to Woodbine for the Queen’s Plate.

Another leading contender is God of Love who had a highly impressive campaign as a two-year-old. That included winning the Grade 3 Grey Stakes last year, one of two wins at Woodbine. February saw God of Love finish sixth in a Grade 3 race at Tampa Bay Downs. The Queen’s Plate is run over a mile-and-a-quarter, and it’s felt the longer distance will suit this runner.

The top filly in the race is likely to be Moira. This runner is being targeted at the Queen’s Plate and was given an easy winter to prepare for the tough battles ahead.

Out to make some history will be The Minister. Trained by Danny Vella, this contender won the Coronation Futurity last year. No horse has won that race and gone on to win The Queen’s Plate a year later since Norcliffe did so in 1975 and 1976. We look to be in for another great race on August 21st.