Updated on 09/15/2011 12:27PM

Filly vs. colt on Queen's Plate menu


ELMONT, N.Y. - As Canada prepares to open its classic racing season Sunday with the 142nd running of the $1 million Queen's Plate, a lady is stealing all the headlines.

Dancethruthedawn has many captivating charms, all of them turned on in the Labatt Woodbine Oaks two weeks ago. Despite racing four wide, she finished strongly to win the nine-furlong test by an emphatic 1 1/2 lengths in the colors of Sam-Son Farm. Ten years ago, Sam-Son won the Plate with an exceptional filly, Dance Smartly. They also won it last year with a colt named Scatter the Gold.

Dancethruthedawn, by Mr. Prospector out of Dance Smartly , is a full sister to Scatter the Gold.

Dancethruthedawn appears to have a lot going for her in the Plate, including an entry, Lucky Scarab, a late development who won his maiden impressively several weeks ago on a muddy track and over a distance of ground. Whether she needs it or not, Dancethruthedawn, bidding to become the 33rd of her gender to win Canada's greatest horse race, will have help.

The filly looks strong but the

1 1/4-mile Plate looks competitive. Win City will be running in it, off three consecutive victories, showing more ability with every appearance. In the Marine Stakes, he was blocked on the turn and had to call on his athletic ability to extricate himself. He handled it in stride. He appeared to be much the best in the subsequent Plate Trial, cruising off the early pace and then coming on to score by almost four lengths.

Win City was bred and is owned by the DiGiulio family. Frank DiGiulio, who was in real estate development and management, founded the stable more than 20 years ago and raced a number of good horses. One of them, Domasca Dan, was a $32,000 claim who finished third in the Plate and earned almost $600,000. Another, Near the High Sea, finished second in the 1975 Plate at 55-1.

At 91, Frank DiGiulio died this spring, a week before the Plate Trial, the race that confirmed the status of Win City as a leading contender for the Plate. Frank DiGiulio Jr., who has participated in the management of the stable for number of years, now directs its operation. The trainer of the DiGiulio horses for the past 20 years, is Bob Tiller.

"I guess I've had almost a thousand winners over that time," Tiller was saying the other day. "I've had seven shots at the Queen's Plate and we've come close. This year it looks do-able. If I can beat the filly, I feel we've got a big chance."