2008 Queens Plate looks like three horse race Solitaire could turn tables barring bounce
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com
June 21, 2008 If Solitaire doesnt bounce in his second start off the layoff he could turn the tables on Plate Trial victor Not Bourbon in the 149th running of the Queens Plate on Sunday. Not Bourbon is the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the 2008 Queens Plate, and there are numerous reasons to like him, including the fact that his Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield has won the race seven times, but he also had a better trip in the Plate Trial than Solitaire. The only other rival among 15 entries that looks like she might have a shot at upsetting the top pair is recent Canadian Oaks winner Ginger Brew.
Scheduled to be run as the ninth at Woodbine on Sunday, the $1 million race will be run at the classic distance of 1 -miles, which is probably beyond the stamina limitations of more than a few of the entered runners, but the top three look solid.
Not Bourbon will break from post 13 under regular rider Jono Jones, and he will certainly be fit enough. The 3-year-old colt by Not Impossible made seven starts as a 2-year-old, winning the Bull Page Stakes and finishing third in the Vandal, both in sprint stakes at Woodbine. As a 3-year-old he has done little wrong. He finished second beaten -lengths in the six-furlong Achievement Stakes on April 12, won the seven furlong Queenston Stakes by five lengths on May 3 and held on to defeat Solitaire in the Plate Trial on June 1 going 1 1/8-miles in his first start around two turns. Not Bourbon is also one of only two horses in the Plate to have broken 90 on the Beyer Figure scale, recording a 95 Beyer in the Achievement and a 96 in the Queenston. He received an 88 Beyer for his Plate Trial win, which may or may not be good enough to win this race. If Not Bourbon wins on Sunday, his trainer Roger Attfield will tie the record of eight Queens Plate victories, held by trainer Harold Giddings Jr.
Ginger Brew, the only filly in the race, also owns a 94 Beyer Speed Figure, and she recorded that figure going 1 1/8-miles in the $200,000 Calder Oaks on the turf on April 26. The 3-year-old daughter of Milwaukee Brew used her Oaks win as a prep for her victory in the Woodbine Oaks on June 8. The latter race was also run at 1 1/8- miles and she received an 88 Beyer for that 6-length win, the same number Not Bourbon received at that distance in winning the Plate Trial. Trained by Brian Lynch, Ginger Brew (4-1 morning line) will be ridden by Javier Castellano, who is currently seventh in the rider standings at Belmont Park. Lynch is scoring at a 30 percent clip in stakes and at 37 percent with horses that have won their last race, but the knock against Ginger Brew isnt her trainer, its the fact that she will coming back quick after only two weeks rest. She should be close to Not Bourbon and Solitaire on class however, having tested some tough fillies in Florida. She has also proven her ability to overcome trouble.
Solitaire (7/2) definitely has talent, but hes making only his third lifetime start and second off the layoff after closing well to finish a neck behind Not Bourbon in the Plate Trial. Trained by James Bond, the 3-year-old gelding by 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop finished third in his first lifetime start on April 8 in a Maiden Special Weight race at Gulfstream Park on the turf going 1 1/8-miles. But his runner up finish in the Plate Trial in only his second lifetime start was better than it looked. He was back off a slow pace early, steadied mildly a few times and probably would have won the Plate Trial in one more jump. Slated to be ridden by Robert Landry, Solitaires Plate Trial and pedigree suggest he wants more distance, and if he can avoid the notorious bounce, we think this hes the horse to beat.
If youre looking for a longshot for the superfectas, you probably cant go far wrong with the stablemate of Ginger Brew, Jungle Brew (8-1), also owned by Stronach Stables and trained by Brian Lynch. Hes only started twice and is still a maiden, but he appears to be improving and does have the pedigree to get the distance. On pedigree only, we will also be using Palmers and Mammas Knight in the superfectas, but really, after the top three, this race is wide open and you would be well advised to use All on your superfectas in at least one position, preferably rotated through every position, while using your keys to reduce the cost of the ticket.