06/29/2010 11:00PM

De Gannes gets first solo shot at Queen's Plate


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Greg De Gannes was involved in several Queen's Plates during his days as a racetrack veterinarian.

De Gannes was with trainer Barbara Minshall's stable when that outfit finished third and fourth in the 1995 Queen's Plate with Mt. Sassafras and Kiridashi, and second the following year with Stephanotis. Later, De Gannes was an assistant to trainer Mark Casse when Long Pond and Kent Ridge prepared for the 2004 Queen's Plate, in which they failed to threaten.

De Gannes went out on his own at just about that time, and on Sunday he will send out Mobthewarrior in the $1 million Queen's Plate.

"It feels wonderful," said De Gannes, who trains Mobthewarrior for owner Andrew Fredericks. "It's our signature race, and it's nice to be a part of it. In fact, I hope to be a significant part of it."

Mobthewarrior, who heads into the Queen's Plate off a solid third-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial here at Woodbine on June 13, could well be a major player in the Queen's Plate.

"He'll love every inch of the mile and a quarter," said De Gannes. "He's actually put on weight since the Plate Trial. He's a big, strong gelding and 126 pounds won't make him blink.

"And with the crowds, all the goings-on on Plate Day, he won't turn a hair. He's a cool cat."

Mobthewarrior, an Ontario-sired gelding who was purchased at the local select yearling sale for $23,000, showed plenty of promise in a six-start campaign at 2.

Although he was a romping winner over 4 1/2 furlongs at first asking here a year ago, Mobthewarrior was at his best as the races stretched out in the fall. After finishing second in his first two-turn start, the Grade 3 Grey at 1 1/16 miles, Mobthewarrior became a stakes winner in the restricted Frost King at seven furlongs in what turned out to be his last start of the year.

Although Mobthewarrior would have been a strong choice for another Ontario-sired stakes, the 1 1/16-mile Kingarvie on Nov. 28, De Gannes wound up stopping on the gelding with a long-term eye toward the Queen's Plate.

"I though he'd had enough starts as a 2-year-old," said De Gannes. "I discussed it with Mr. Fredericks and we decided to give him a break, and put him away for July 4. I kicked him out for two months. He got to Florida Nov. 11, and I started him back Jan. 7."

Mobthewarrior spent time on a farm in Ocala, Fla., and then with De Gannes at Palm Meadows.

Back at Woodbine in early April, Mobthewarrior began picking up the pace in the mornings and returned in a restricted second-level allowance over seven furlongs here May 9. Although Mobthewarrior finished second there by a nose as the 6-5 choice, De Gannes was far from discouraged.

"I'd hoped that we'd get a suitable seven-furlong race at the beginning of May, then the Plate Trial," said De Gannes. "He's cleared every hurdle, answered every question we've asked of him so far.

The final questions will be up to jockey Emile Ramsammy, who has ridden Mobthewarrior in each of his last five starts and will be looking for his third Queen's Plate win after scoring with Edenwold in 2006 and Victor Cooley 10 years earlier.

Ramsammy and De Gannes have been a successful team through the years, scoring with 23 of their 113 starters. including 6 of 21 at the current meeting heading into this week's action.