An unfinished story

RICHARD MAUNTAH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

TORONTO - It’s not unlike any other major trophy in Canadian sport.

Every hockey player dreams of the Stanley Cup. Every competitive male curler wants the Brier tankard. And everyone involved in Canadian horse racing dreams of holding the quaint little trophy that goes to the winner of the Queen’s Plate.

And so far, it’s eluded Jim McAleney.

“We’ve got to break through sooner or later,” he said. “The law of averages says it’s got to be my turn.”

Law of averages aside, McAleney, 42, who began his career with back-to-back Sovereign Awards as Canada’s top apprentice in 1987 and 1988, has always shown the talent to win the race. Even now he’s in the top 10 in the Woodbine jockey standings.

But the mounts in the big race just haven’t been there. Since his first start in 1989, his best outings have been second-place finishes aboard I and I (2000) and Anglian Prince (2002).

“I’ve had a successful career and I’ve been very happy with all the things I have done in my career,” he said. “But the story is unfinished until you get a Queen’s Plate winner.”

McAleney’s mount this time is One Big Gator, a John Ross-trained colt that comes into the race after finally breaking his maiden in his sixth try on June 10. That’s credentials more fitting of his 30-1 morning-line status than contender but McAleney is optimistic.

“It’s a wide open race but this horse is coming off a win,” he said. “Anytime a horse is doing well and peaking as I believe this horse is, they can do unlimited things. The horse is in great order and we’ve got to give it a shot.”

The post positions were drawn at Woodbine Thursday, which with 17 horses in the field meant a little drama. Queen’splatekitten, the Todd Pletcher hopeful who won the Marine Stakes and will likely go off as the favourite once the American money shows up on the tote board, drew post 14.

Right next to him in post 13 will be Plate Trial winner and 3-1 morning-line favourite Check Your Soul. Even though trainer Roger Attfield had better options available to him at his point in the selection order, he and owner Charles Fipke opted for the same post that Not Bourbon broke from in 2008 when he won for the pair.

Probably getting a better spot than either will be Woodbine Oaks winner Inglorious. The decision to run in the Plate hadn’t been a done deal until this week.

“It’s a tough race to be running a filly in,” trainer Josie Carroll said. “But she loves this surface and she came out of the Oaks well.”

The worst spot of the main contenders went to Bowman’s Causeway, who will have to overcome post 16 if Eurico Rosa Da Silva is to win his third consecutive Plate.

Of the other notable runners, Oh Canada, who will be ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson for trainer Bob Tiller, drew post three. Pender Harbour, who will have Chantal Sutherland in the irons, drew post five. And Strike Oil, the most accomplished of the trio being sent out by Mark Casse, will come out of post seven.

richard.mauntah@sunmedia.ca

The Field for the Queen’s Plate

1 Imhotep Todd Pletcher Emile Ramsammy 30-1

2 Curgone Greg De Gannes Garrett Gomez 50-1

3 Oh Canada Bob Tiller Emma-Jayne Wilson 10-1

4 One Big Gator John Ross Jim McAleney 30-1

5 Pender Harbour Mike DePaulo Chantal Sutherland 12-1

6 Head Honcho Catherine Day Phillips Jono Jones 30-1

7 Strike Oil Mark Casse Willie Martinez 15-1

8 Okiyama John Mattine Jesse Campbell 30-1

9 Inglorious Josie Carroll Luis Contreras 9-2

10 Enduring Star Mark Casse Robby Albarado 30-1

11 Ojibway Signal David Bell Justin Stein 50-1

12 Seawatch Josie Carroll Slade Callaghan 20-1

13 Check Your Soul Roger Attfield Patrick Husbands 3-1

14 Queen’splatekitten Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 7-2

15 Hippolytus Mark Casse Tyler Pizarro 30-1

16 Bowman’s Causeway Chad Brown Eurico Rosa Da Silva 6-1

17 Maple Leaf Kitten Joe Woodard Omar Moreno 50-1


Videos

Photos