While we Americans celebrate the Fourth of July holiday on Sunday, Canadians rejoice in the running of the Queen’s Plate—with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the house. Very exciting stuff! My heart is with the fillies in the field, Roan Inish and Moment of Majesty, both of whom are eminently qualified to take this prize. Remember last year’s Plate: the fillies Milwaukee Appeal and Tasty Temptation finished third and fourth respectively. This year Sam-Son Farm sends out three, including likely-favorite Hotep, full-brother to last year’s Plate winner Eye of the Leopard. Patrick Husbands chose to ride Hotep, but, frankly, it’s lightly-raced Dark Cloud Dancer with Javier Castellano I’d prefer to see win, as he’s got a pedigree that almost cries out for this—his dam Dancerthruthedawn won the Queen’s Plate, as did her full-brother Scatter the Gold, not to mention their dam Dance Smartly (who also won the Canadian Triple Crown). And Dance Smartly’s Woodbine Oaks-winning dam Classy N Smart was a half-sister to Queen’s Plate runner-up Regal Classic and the legendary Sky Classic. Come on! That’s damn impressive! Last year’s winning jockey Eurico da Silva takes the ride on Plate Trial victor Big Red Mike who I also give a big chance. Post time: 5:38 p.m. Eastern.
Two races before the Queen’s Plate is the G3 Singspiel, which will be undoubtedly poignant. On class Spice Route looks best, but this will be his first 2010 outing. Stablemate Perfect Shower looks better prepared, having finished third, just one length behind next-out G1 Manhattan winner Winchester in April at Keeneland. I’ve always been an admirer of Solitaire who may fire first up, but I’m also considering PA-bred Forgotten Dynasty who’s been competitive against top-rate company this year.
It may feature a small field, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more blue-blood event than Sunday’s G1 Prioress at Belmont. Bonnie Blue Flag is a half-sister to multiple G1 turf winner Diamondrella. The dam of Champagne d’Oro is G1 runner-up Champagne Glow, a half-sister to multiple G1 victor Grand Canyon, runner-up in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Funny Feeling is half-sister to multiple G1 winner Pussycat Doll, out of G1 victress Hookedonthefeelin, while Stormandaprayer is out of G1 winning mare Stormy Pick. That leaves Franny Freud as the sole entrant without G1 connections—and I think she’ll “upset” this race.
Call me crazy, but I love, love, love Christine Daae taking on the boys in G3 Jersey Shore at Monmouth! Short field of six should make her job a bit easier. In the Miss Liberty, Gozzip Girl looks to return to her winning ways—after dumping Ramon Dominguez at the start last out. Chestoria has long been a personal favorite, and I’m hoping Maram is back.
And, yes, the tribe has spoken in discontent about my recent focus on baby races, but I can’t help myself. Race 1 at Monmouth features well-bred Sleepless Dixie who just missed last out, and recently fired a smoking 3 furlong work; her dam Dream About was a G2 winner in Canada at 2, and her only sibling Sleepless Knight won last year’s Lamplighter at Monmouth off a maiden win. It always unwise to ignore a Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez filly, so System Ready could be involved, but I rather prefer Stanley Hough-trained Miss Dora who narrowly missed the winner’s circle in April at Keeneland; her second dam Eternal Search was graded stakes-placed at 2, while Miss Dora’s dam Damage has a full-sister called Destroy who’s produced some nice runners, including juvenile stakes-winners Utterly Cool and Ghost Fleet, the latter who runs in today’s Queen’s Plate (how’s that for six degrees of separation?). Ima Wild Pussycat has sharp works and love Elvis Trujillo up; she’s got some back class, as her dam is a half-sister to the great Waquoit who was precocious as a juvenile, while another half-brother Dawn Exodus finished third in the G3 Iroquois at age 2.