07/03/2017 8:56AM

Alabama might be next for Queen's Plate winner Holy Helena

Emily Shields
Holy Helena completes the Woodbine Oaks-Queen's Plate double, and becomes Frank Stronach's fourth Plate winner.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Holy Helena became the seventh filly to capture the Woodbine Oaks-Queen’s Plate double with a 3 1/2-length victory over Tiz a Slam in the Queen’s Plate under Luis Contreras on Sunday at Woodbine.

Despite winning the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, Holy Helena is unlikely to run in the second jewel, the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes on dirt at Fort Erie on July 25, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. Holy Helena will ship out to Jerkens’s base at Saratoga on Wednesday, and while no firm plans have been made, Jerkens said Holy Helena might start in the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama Stakes over 1 1/4 miles on dirt at Saratoga on Aug. 19.

“I would think you would have to think about the Alabama,” he said. “She’s already won at the distance. Not a lot of the rest of them that’ll be running in there can say that. I’m sure it’ll probably be a saltier bunch, but at the same time, she still has some seasoning under her belt.”

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Following her maiden win on dirt at Belmont Park on May 12, Holy Helena was shipped up to Woodbine to the barn of Mike Doyle. Jerkens trained Holy Helena by keeping in touch with Doyle.

Jerkens said he knew early in the Queen’s Plate that Holy Helena had a shot.

“It looked like [Contreras] had horse all the way,” he said. “Heading down the backside, I knew we were in business. She was laying pretty close without any effort, and when they do that, you know you’re in business.”

It was Jerkens’s first Queen’s Plate victory and the fourth for owner and breeder Stronach Stables. Frank Stronach had won the race with Shaman Ghost in 2015; Holy Helena’s grandsire, Awesome Again, in 1997; and Basqueian in 1994.

“When she won her second start, Jimmy said she was a very nice filly,” Stronach said. “I think she’s a very nice horse.”

Contreras won his second Queen’s Plate, and both of his wins have come aboard fillies. Contreras won the 2011 Queen’s Plate with Inglorious and said following Sunday’s race that he had similar trips in both wins.

“I had the same feeling as Inglorious on that day,” he said. “I was just waiting until the quarter pole to swing outside and make my move. I got a dream trip. She did it so easy. I was so happy the whole race.”

◗ Woodbine will move post time for the first race on Friday cards to 3:45 p.m. Eastern beginning this week and through Sept. 1. On Sept. 8, first post on Fridays will move back to 1 p.m.