Bet Against the Favorite in the Queens Plate at Woodbine
The 162nd running of the Grade 1 Queen's Plate takes place August 22nd at Woodbine in Toronto, Canada. If you are not familiar with Queen's Plate, it is the Canadian equivalent to the Kentucky Derby. This race is for three-year-olds that were foaled in Canada. This distance is the same mile and a quarter as the Kentucky Derby but is run on a synthetic surface rather than dirt as they do in Kentucky. Most people say the synthetic poly surface, known as tapeta, is more similar to turf, which does change the way you would handicap this race. The "Gallop for the Guineas" is also unique in the sense that the name will change from Queen's Plate to King's Plate if the monarch is male.
With a solid field of 13 horses lining up today, I'll highlight a couple that I think could light up the tote board. I think there is major value to be found today against the morning line odds. The strategy today is to play against the morning line favorite. If odds stay where they currently sit, we could see a very nice trifecta payout.
I want to start my analysis by picking on the morning line favorite, (#8) Keep Grinding, as I truly think this horse cannot get the distance. This horse is 1-5 at Woodbine, with the lone win being a mile and a sixteenth by a neck as a two year old. With 2 races under his belt this year, he has been beaten by both Tidal Forces and Harlan Estate. Of those two, I think (#2) Harlan Estate has the best chance at running a winning race. Harlan Estate is 12/1 on the morning line, but I don't expect that to hold. After running 6 races on the turf in California, this horse was transferred to Kevin Attard's barn and has looked phenomenal on tapeta at Woodbine. A change of scenery, trainer and surface helped propel this horse to a live longshot. This horse has been running okay against horses like Rock Your World and Beer Can Man, so it's fair to say this is a very classy horse with a generous price.
(#1) Safe Conduct is getting my tag of most intriguing horse. This horse gets Irad Ortiz to shoot up to Canada and try to pilot him to a victory in Safe Conduct's first try on the synthetic surface. There is nobody else I'd rather have than the three-time eclipse jockey of the year winner on my horse. After a hard beating in the Belmont Derby, on turf at a mile and a quarter, this horse could understand what is needed to take a step forward. At 5-1 odds, Safe Conduct is a fair risk.
My top choice, however, is the lone filly of the group. (#6) Munnyfor Ro has a very good shot at beating the boys today on the heel of winning the Woodbine Oaks. The Woodbine Oaks always serves as a solid race in determining how that winner will run in the Queen's Plate. In the past 10 Queen's Plates, three Oaks winners have came back to win this race. Having no distance questions only strengthens my position on her.
Trifecta Key: 6/1,2,3,8,10,12
FILLY DOUBLE ($20): 6/7 (Races 10 and 11)
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