By Christina Bossinakis
A total of 17 sophomores–including Woodbine Oaks heroine Elysian Field (Hard Spun) and U.S.-based Kalik (Collected)-have signed on to contest Sunday's King's Plate, the initial jewel in the OLG Canadian Triple Crown. Held at Woodbine's Trackside Clubhouse, Wednesday's King's Plate breakfast was highlighted by the post-position draw, which was co-hosted by Woodbine TV personality Jeff Bratt and Woodbine track announcer Robert Geller.
Being run for the 164th time, making it North America's oldest continually run race, the 1 1/4-mile test will be contested as the King's Plate for the first time since 1951.
Favored in the morning line at 3-1 is the Chad Brown-trained Kalik, owned by Robert LaPenta, e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Madaket Stables LLC. The partnership also campaigns Moon Landing (Nyquist), who drew post 17 for trainer Kevin Attard and is 20-1 on the morning line.
Kalik is a winner of three of six starts-all on the turf–highlighted by the June 3 GII Pennine Ridge S. at Belmont. The chestnut finished eighth in his latest start in the GI Belmont Derby July 8.
“With Chad, you know the horse will be in top condition coming into the Plate,” said jockey Kazushi Kimura, slated to ride the $200,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase. “To be in The King's Plate is amazing. The race has so much history. You can feel the excitement building and I hope that we can say we won the first King's Plate since 1951. I know I have a big chance with this horse.”
Drawing the rail, Stanley House (Army Mule) broke his maiden at Gulfstream in March before finishing runner-up going 8 1/2 furlongs over Woodbine's Tapeta surface in May. Back in the winner's circle facing optional claimers, he finished sixth in the July 23 Plate Trial, won by Paramount Prince (Society's Chairman). The former, installed the 4-1 second choice on the morning line, will be ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.
In addition to Paramount Prince (10-1, post 13), trainer Mark Casse will also be represented by Elysian Field (8-1, post 2). Patrick Husbands will partner the former, while Sahin Civaci will be aboard the filly.
“Coming into a race like this, some horses are thriving and getting better, and that would describe her,” said Casse, who won the 2014 Plate with Lexie Lou and the 2018 running with Wonder Gadot.
Sunday's card also features a trio of stakes: the 1 1/16-mile GII Dance Smartly S. (on the E.P. Taylor turf for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up); the Catch a Glimpse S. (fillies) and Soaring Free S. (colts). Both juvenile races will be contested on the E.P. Taylor turf over 6 1/2 furlongs.
First post for Sunday is 12:25 p.m. (ET), with the featured King's Plate scheduled as Race 10 (5:39 p.m. ET). The national Plate broadcast will be televised on TSN and CTV starting at 4:30 p.m.