05/30/2009 11:00PM

Eye of the Leopard up by neck in Plate Trial

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Eye of the Leopard overcame a four-wide trip to land his first stakes Sunday at Woodbine in the $152,000 Plate Trial, an important prep for the $1 million Queen's Plate on June 21.

Eye of the Leopard, trained by Mark Frostad for Sam-Son Farm, was rated about three lengths off the lead on the backstretch under Eurico Da Silva. Costalivin set moderate fractions in the nine-furlong route, before giving way to a stalking Southdale at the head of the stretch.

Eye of the Leopard loomed into serious contention on the far turn, and kicked on nicely through the stretch. He overtook Southdale in the final strides to prevail by a neck, in a time of 1:51.80. Rapid Release finished another two lengths back in third, and favored El Brujo checked in ninth in the 10-horse field of Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

"Mark told me to train him in behind horses in the morning," said Da Silva. "He took to that pretty well, and I was very confident that he would be relaxed in the race. I had so much horse. I just had to wait for the right time to let him run. He made a very good move, and continued to run strong. He galloped out beautifully."

Eye of the Leopard returned $13.10, and earned $90,000 in just his third start.