Odds were that if Hall of Fame trainer Josie Carroll was going to win her third Queen's Plate, it'd come with heavy favorite and Woodbine Oaks winner Curlin's Voyage. Instead, her other two entrants made up a longshot exacta, with lightly raced and one-eyed Mighty Heart dominating the Canadian Classic. Fourth in a rained-off Fair Grounds mile event in February, the bay colt bore out on the turn and crossed the wire 11th when getting on the grass there a month later (he was later officially moved up one spot due to a medication DQ). He broke through by daylight over a couple of these foes going 8 1/2 panels on the Tapeta July 11 and was most recently third–one slot behind Tecumseh's War (Summer Front)–in a nine-furlong allowance Aug. 1.
Tugging his way to the front from the 13 hole while on his incorrect lead, the homebred settled somewhat and continued along on an uncontested lead through splits of :23.57, :47.61 and 1:12.70. He was briefly headed by Plate Trial winner Clayton around the bend as Curlin's Voyage revved up wider, but swatted them all away and ran up the score from there. Maiden Belichick made a good late run to round out a C$961 triactor.
“I was concerned for a minute or two with the quick fractions but he looked like he was settling and doing it easily,” said Carroll. “We knew he'd go all day and he sure did. You know what, he's just a very exciting horse who's come a long way for [owner/breeder Larry] Cordes, who's had a lot of confidence in him from the start.”
It was winning rider Daisuke Fukumoto's first Queen's Plate ride.
“Unbelievable,” said Fukumoto. “I can't explain…he's feeling good today… I saw that nobody [was going for the lead] so I just sent him and he just kept going. After the wire, he still kept going, he didn't stop there.”
The young pilot, who notched his first-ever stakes win Aug. 22, continued, “He was sharp today. I thought it was fast but I took the lead so I can't do anything, you know…I let him go. He only has one eye, but he's got a big heart, a mighty heart.”
Mighty Heart is the second of two black-type winners for the Distorted Humor stallion Dramedy, winner of the 2015 GII Dixiana Elkhorn S. at Keeneland. Dramedy originally stood his first two years at War Horse Place in Kentucky, then moved to River Oaks Farm in Oklahoma for another two seasons prior to being sold to Saudi Arabia for the 2020 season. With a mere 29 foals from his two crops of racing age, Dramedy has had nine individual winners from 16 starters. His other stakes winner is Southgate, who broke his maiden last year in the restricted Iowa Stallion Futurity. Mighty Heart's modest female side was void of black-type after his fourth dam until Saturday's score, while his unraced broodmare sire, the Storm Cat stallion City Place, has three stakes winners out of his daughters, including the Queen's Plate winner. Emma's Bullseye's most recent foal is the unraced 2-year-old filly Evelyn's Delight (Silver Max).
QUEEN'S PLATE S., C$1,002,400, Woodbine, 9-12, (C), 3yo, 1 1/4m (AWT), 2:01.98, ft.
1–MIGHTY HEART, 126, c, 3, by Dramedy
1st Dam: Emma's Bullseye, by City Place
2nd Dam: Fleeting April, by Northern Afleet
3rd Dam: April's Luci, by Sunny Clime
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-Lawrence Cordes; B-Larry Cordes
(ON); T-Josie Carroll; J-Daisuke Fukumoto. C$600,000. Lifetime
Record: 5-2-0-1, $508,506.
2–Belichick, 126, c, 3, Lemon Drop Kid–Game (Fr), by Montjeu
(Ire). ($300,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP). O-NK Racing & LNJ Foxwoods;
B-Sean Fitzhenry (ON); T-Josie Carroll. C$200,000.
3–Clayton, 126, c, 3, Bodemeister–Smarthalf, by Smart Strike.
($16,000 Wlg '17 KEENOV; $50,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP). O-Donato
Lanni & Daniel Plouffe; B-Bernard & Karen McCormack (ON);
T-Kevin Attard. C$100,000.
Margins: 7HF, 2 1/4, NK. Odds: 13.25, 26.60, 3.00.
Also Ran: Tecumseh's War, Curlin's Voyage, Merveilleux, Dotted Line, Glorious Tribute, Truebelieve, Holyfield, Olliemyboy, F F Rocket, Sweepin Hard, Halo Again.
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