Inglorious aims to show-up boys in Queen's Plate

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

TORONTO - Fillies have had an uncanny success rate in the Queen’s Plate, but that’s not the reason Josie Carroll is entering her leading lady Inglorious in Sunday’s big race.

Sure, Carroll is well aware that fillies have finished second, third and third in the past three editions of the jewel of Canadian racing. And yes, they get a five-pound break in weight (121 pounds to 126) against their male counterparts to even the playing field in the 1 1/4-mile race.

But the biggest reason Carroll is entering the recent winner of the Woodbine Oaks and the Plate’s winterbook favourite is because she thinks she can win.

“I think it’s a very contentious race, but I have a hard running filly,” Carroll said this week. “If I ever was going to take a chance with a filly, she’d be the one.”

At one point in the winter, Carroll had planned to enter Inglorious in the Kentucky Oaks, the filly companion to the Derby. But after a lackluster showing in the Fairgrounds Oaks in New Orleans, the trainer instead turned her attention back home.

So why does the trainer think Inglorious can become the fifth filly to win the Oaks and Plate?

“Usually the colts are bigger and stronger but she’s a pretty solid filly,” said Carroll who became the first female trainer to win the Plate when Edenwold triumphed in 2006. “She’s professional and she just wants to win.”

FINE FOURSOME

With Inglorious, Plate Trial winner Check Your Soul and runner-up Bowman’s Causeway plus Marine Stakes winner Queen’splatekitten, the race may be the deepest at the top than it has been for a while.

Even better, much like the Kentucky Derby, the top three contenders come in not having faced each other in their final prep race.

“A lot of times we’ve had very good horses or horses projected to be very good, but these ones have actually shown that in their last race,” Woodbine track handicapper Jim Bannon said. “Getting horses far apart in their major preps so they don’t face each other until the big money and title are on the line only adds to the race.

“It’s intriguing for horse players because they have to decipher which race was important.”

WHAT ABOUT BOB?

Hard to believe it’s been nine years since veteran trainer Bob Tiller has had a Plate starter, a drought that will end this year with Oh Canada.

“In my opinion, this is a quality field, one of the toughest Plates in a while,” said Tiller, who has yet to win the Plate in nine previous attempts. “We believe we’re in the top five and we’ll go out there and give it our all.”

Oh Canada won’t get the hype of the big three in the race, but leave him off your triactor ticket with peril. He’s never been worse than third in five career starts.

“If I win, I’m going to sing ‘O Canada’ and then jump into the infield pond,” Tiller joked.

SIDE PLATES

Much fuss is being made about trainer Todd Pletcher employing John Velazquez for Queen’splatekitten after Eurico Rosa da Silva won the Marine with him in his previous start. Fact is, Velazquez likely would have had that mount as well if it wasn’t for a little race known as the Preakness where he was riding Kentucky Derby champ, Animal Kingdom ... Cue the controversy if the possible favourite loses, however. Da Silva has never lost in the Plate — winning the past two years, his only mounts in the big race ... The Plate always brings its share of long shots and dreamers and who can blame owners for taking a shot? One of those entrants this year is Curgone for colourful owner Joe Stritzl. “Joe gets excited over a maiden,” trainer Greg de Gannes said. “I can’t wait to see him Plate day.” ... The Ontario Racing Commission’s get tough stance on drug cheats continues with the Plate. The 17 entrants in the race have to check in at Woodbine by 11 a.m. on Friday when blood samples will be taken and the horses will be under surveillance on and off until post time.

IN HARNESS

It didn’t take long for driver Jody Jamieson to come back down to earth after winning Canada’s richest harness race on Saturday. Jamieson showed up for work Monday to find out he was suspended indefinitely for forgetting to appear in front of Ontario Racing Commission judges regarding a racing infraction a week earlier. Jamieson won the $1.5 million North America Cup aboard Up The Credit but was taken off all his drives Monday night. He had his meeting with the judges and was back in action on Tuesday, however ... Just four weeks after suffering a broken jaw in a nasty accident at Mohawk, driver Mark MacDonald plans to be back in action this Sunday ... Somewhat lost in Up The Credit’s win Saturday was trotter Blue Porsche’s easy score in the Goodtimes Stakes for driver Trevor Ritchie and trainer Blair Burgess. That win established him as the early favourite for trotting’s top prize, the Hambletonian, later this summer.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

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