Updated on 09/18/2011 12:28AM

A biased opinion throws out Plate winner

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Pipers Thunder, though sixth in the Queen's Plate, looks like a plausible longshot pick in the Prince of Wales.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - This year's Queen's Plate was one of those races that might have been won at the draw.

The connections of the reigning Canadian champion 2-year-old, Edenwold - trainer Josie Carroll and jockey Emile Ramsammy - had their choice of posts 1, 11, 12, and 13 when it was time to make their pick at the draft-style draw. They opted for the one hole, and Edenwold benefited from a noticeable rail bias to capture the $1 million event with an inside pace-pressing trip.

Some trip handicappers will make Edenwold a bet-against in the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, Sunday's Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, because he was aided by the perceived bias. There are several runners in the Wales field who merit serious consideration because they raced off the rail in the 1 1/4-mile Plate.

Malakoff had a three-wide stalking journey and hung in the final furlong to finish nearly five lengths in arrears. He missed some training time because of a virus after taking the May 20 Marine Stakes convincingly, and was a little short of fitness heading into the Plate, his first outing in five weeks.

Malakoff could be primed for a peak performance in the 1 3/16-mile Wales, and is worth backing at 3-1 or higher.

Pipers Thunder, the late-blooming Plate Trial winner, raced five wide until the far turn before coming home in the three path in the Plate. He wound up 12 lengths back in sixth, an effort that is certainly better than it appears at face value.

Sterwins set a rapid early pace in the two path in the Plate, before Edenwold joined him on the lead through three-quarters of a mile in 1:11.20. He weakened in the final furlong but easily held second, beaten a mere three-quarters of a length.

Sterwins did not debut until May 20, and was making his third start in the Plate, which was just 15 days after his authoritative maiden win at Monmouth. He figures to be overbet in the Wales, and his goose could be cooked running back three weeks after a monster effort.

After saving ground for the first mile in the Plate, Ascot Bill rallied wide in the stretch to finish a nose behind Malakoff in fourth. He was previously a fast-closing second in Trial, and he has evolved into a very useful long-distance specialist.

Shillelagh Slew raced inside in a stalking position throughout the Plate and flattened out in the stretch to finish fifth in just his second start of the year. He contracted a virus after romping in a seven-furlong allowance in his seasonal debut, on April 29, and he should have gotten a lot from the Plate fitness-wise.

Front-runners and stalkers have won four of the five most recent runnings of the Wales, so Edenwold's tactical speed might be an asset in the race. He returned $34.40 in the Plate, but figures to be among the favorites in the Wales.

Pipers Thunder is a possible live longshot, and I plan on using him on top in exotic wagers over Malakoff, Shillelagh Slew, and Ascot Bill.

Speed looking good

Speed horses had an advantage during the first two days of racing over Woodbine's inner dirt track last weekend.

Front-runners and stalkers won all the inner-dirt races Saturday except for the finale, when first-time starter Mid Knight Zoom rallied strongly from last to win a 7 1/2-furlong race for $12,500 maidens.

The track played much the same Sunday, when the only closer to score was Just Always, who came wide from midpack to take a five-furlong dash for Ontario-sired maidens.