Big Red Mike to compete for Queen’s Plate

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:51 PM ET

Nothing was going to stop Big Red Mike from powering his way into the Queen’s Plate picture Sunday afternoon.

The three-year-old thoroughbred showed his enthusiasm from the moment he walked onto the Woodbine track, bucking jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva from his back in the post parade.

That enthusiasm looked like it might be his undoing once the Plate Trial Stakes got under way and he sprinted from the start of the 11/8-mile race, the final key prep for the July 4 opening jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Instead, it proved to be the winning move as the Nick Gonzalez trainee led for all but a half dozen strides at the top of the stretch, holding off a game challenge from runner-up Mobilizer, for a half-length win in a time of 1:50.41.

“He was walking so relaxed outside, but once he came inside the track, he turned to ‘I’m the Man,’ ” Da Silva said. “That I really loved. He ran a great race.”

So too did Mobilizer, who was hemmed in tight by Big Red Mike in the stretch, nearly skimming the rail for the entire stretch run before relenting at the wire.

“If I was on the outside, I would have won by many,” Mobilizer’s jockey Jono Jones said of the Frank Stronach runner. “He’s a learning horse and he learned a lot today. I didn’t want to have him on the inside but he fought hard.”

Mobilizer, who is trained by Roger Attfield, certainly performed well enough to move on to the Plate, which is more than what can be said for the Hall of Famer’s other runner. Hollinger, who was undefeated as a two-year-old, finished last in the field of eight, despite going off as the heavy betting favourite.

While it’s unlikely Big Red Mike will be favoured in the Plate, he can’t be dismissed either. In total, 24 Trial winners have won the big race and it has been a hot trend recently. Both Eye of the Leopard a year ago and Not Bourbon in 2008 parlayed a Trial win into a Plate triumph.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca


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