Dish on the Plate

BILL LANKHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

- The Queen's Plate was inaugurated with royal assent on Wednesday, June 27, 1860, at the Carleton track in Toronto, located in the bucolic surroundings of what is now the traffic-snarled southwestern corner of Keele and Dundas St.

- The Queen's Plate also is known as the Gallop for the Guineas. Curiously, the winner gets neither a plate, nor the guineas. Charles II began awarding plates in the 17th century but the practice became outmoded. The winner gets a gold cup that stands about a foot high.

- In its 150-year run, only four times has a sitting monarch attended the race. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were the first to attend, seeing Archworth win in 1939. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have seen three Plate races, the last in 1997, won by Frank Stronach's Awesome Again.

- The racing season in Canada in 1918 and 1919 lasted all of about five minutes -- or the time it took to run The Queen's Plate. There was controversy over whether events should even be run because of the First World War. But the races were staged as features of a Red Cross Horse Show in Toronto, the only two races held, thus making the event the oldest uninterrupted stakes race in North America.

- Politicians lobbied to hold the race in their constituencies in the early years. It was raced in Toronto, Guelph, St. Catharines, Whitby, Kingston, Barrie, Woodstock, Picton, London, Hamilton and Ottawa before settling permanently in Toronto.


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