TORONTO - Tyler Pizarro had likely his finest moment as a jockey when he rode 61-1 longshot Hippolytus to a second-place finish in the Queen’s Plate on Sunday, but it almost didn’t happen.
About 30 minutes earlier, Pizarro was aboard Guest Appearing in the race before the Plate and was having a routine post-parade until his mount got spooked. Pizarro was thrown off his mount and landed near the grandstand-side rail, hurting his arm in the process.
The loose horse didn’t stray far and, after Pizarro got up and checked out, he remounted Guest Appearing and raised his shaken-up arm to the crowd signalling he was okay. He then rode Guest Appearing to a front-running score at 22-1. No matter how Hippolytus did, that could have been a highlight for him.
But a half hour later, there he was, settling Hippolytus nicely early and while other horses near the front began to fade as they turned for home, there they were, with a brief time on the lead before Inglorious seized command late.
“I’m over the moon,” Pizarro said. “He ran a great race and gave it everything he had down the lane. I wanted to be forwardly placed and we did everything we could to get there. I’m just thrilled we fought the good fight today.”
Also fighting well was third place finisher Pender Harbour. Sent off at 15-1, the gelding made a nice run in the stretch to round out the triactor under Chantal Sutherland, who was spending her first weekend back home since her decision to ride full-time in California in the spring.
“I’m really proud of how he ran today,” Sutherland said. “He’s still learning and figuring things out. But I know he’ll get even better as we go along.”
Sutherland said she was thrilled for the connections of Inglorious, who she rode in her first four career starts before she moved west.
It was, however, a disappointing effort by Check Your Soul, sent off as the 9-5 favourite but checking in seventh.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better trip,” jockey Patrick Husbands said.
“But four furlongs out, he spit the bit on me. He was done at the three-eighths pole.
While trainer Roger Attfield didn’t win his ninth Plate, he did send out Musketier, with John Velazquez aboard, to win the $150,000 Singspiel Stakes earlier in the card.
Also Sunday, Plate-winning rider Luis Contreras also captured the $200,000 Highlander Stakes aboard Signature Red. The five-year-old captured last year’s Highlander but had been winless in seven starts between the triumphs. And while Bowman's Causeway finished fourth in the Plate, denying Eurico Rosa da Silva of his third consecutive win in the classic, he did excite the large crowd early by winning the first three races on the card.