UP WITH THE BIRDS – Terence Dulay photo


A little drizzle may have kept Queen’s Plate champ INGLORIOUS away from making an appearance at the Plate post position draw this morning but there was no shortage of involved people, media and assorted others at the lavish breakfast under the Woodbine tent.

A field of 12 was entered for the 154th Plate, 1 1/4 miles, Polytrack, 5:38 on Sunday afternoon. The favourite at 2 to 1 is UP WITH THE BIRDS, owned by Sam-Son Farms and ridden by Eurico da Silva, who rode EYE OF THE LEOPARD to win the Plate for Sam-Son a few years ago.
Da Silva has been riding hot this year and is in the thick of the battle for leading rider at Woodbine with Luis Contreras.

Meanwhile Contreras is on PYRITE MOUNTAIN, who beat UNCAPTURED earlier this year (that is the Horse of the Year from last year) and that pairing is listed at 6 to 1, fourth choices.
Getting lots of action and buzz is the filly NIPISSING, who won the Woodbine Oaks (7 to 2) and Plate Trial winner DYNAMIC SKY (4 to 1) (The morning line for the 12-horse field adds up to 133 points, higher than the 122-123 norm).

THE FIELD by post order
and some notes from the post position draw this Thursday morning

1 – Midnight Aria – “we’re going to draw him back from the 1 hole”, joked trainer Nick Gonzalez about this high striding, galloping type. Hey, here’s a gelding who held on fairly well in the Plate Trial and he has a very strong rider in Jesse Campbell on board. Um, Gonzalez won this race with front running Big Red Mike a few years ago.

2 – Dynamic Sky – the Plate Trial winner “has to step up and do better if he is going to win the Plate,” said trainer Mark Casse about John Oxley’s colt by Sky Mesa.

3 – Jagger M – a sprinter’s pedigree but he picked up some pieces in the Trial
4 – Spring in the Air – Joel Rosario is named on both Oxley runners but GARY BOULANGER rides this gal if all is well in 72 hours. Trainer Casse got a bit choked up when asked about Boulanger’s comeback from the terrible accident in 2005 and how he is flourishing with the Casse team at Woodbine this year. (Of course, Casse’s main rider, Patrick Husbands got hurt and that opened the door for Boulanger)

5 – County Lineman – The Ginger PIunch Partnership, one of 6 teams of the HORSE RACING LEAGUE, is cheering for this son of Silent Name. So is breeder GAIL WOOD, who foaled this guy at her Woodlands Farm.

6 – Kaigun – He got loose before his first scheduled race at Woodbine in the spring and was scratched. He is light on seasoning.

7 – Up With the Birds – Named by Rick Balaz for the COLDPLAY song. The likely favourite in the Plate and trainer Pierce said “I’d rather be 2 to 1 than 20 to 1”

8 – Rackman – “Dad has been in this business a long time, we have never been in a race of this magnitude before and we figured we take a shot.” said owner/trainer Nick Nosowenko about his and his dad Mike’s son of Niigon. He’s a large guy who can run forever (Rackman, that is)

9 – Nipissing – the popular filly with a popular group of owners, trainer, jockey, racing manager…well, you get the picture. Gosh, even ROGER ATTIFELD got up there and said he was cheering for this filly. The CHiefswood Stable gives a ton of money to LongRun and other charities around the country, plunge bucks into the business and deserve every good horse they get.

10 -Pyrite Mountain – The Awesome Again partnership is one of 6 teams in the HORSE RACING LEAGUE, formed by Frank Stronach. This colt is by Adena Spring stallion SILENT NAME (JPN) and bred by smalltime local trainer Sean Hall, who is no longer in the business. A deep closer, he is in need of some pace.

11 – His Race to Win – Flashy with those white feet, this guy tends to move too soon and hang so American rider JOhn Velazquez needs to know that. “Without much pace, he might be closer than we want,” said trainer Pierce.

12 – River Seven – “He needs to step it up,’ said trainer Nick Gonzalez, but he has trained well since his last race and we put a line through that race (he stumbled badly)

WOODBINE PRESIDENT, CEO. NICK EAVES spoke to the crowd and emphasized the importance of Tuesday’s initial meeting at Woodbine from 1 to 4 regarding the transition panel consultations with respect to the future of horse racing.

Indeed, it was one year ago when Eaves suggested last year’s Plate would be the last had the transitional panel not stepped in. Now its time to get something together for the long term health of this great industry.


DYNAMIC SKY, by Sky Mesa. Owned by John Oxley.



AMERICAN PEDIGREE student SID FERNANDO picks Nipissing and Rackman (both by Niigon)