07/02/2017 7:35PM

Holy Helena shows her best in Queen's Plate

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Emily Shields
Holy Helena paid $6.20 in winning the Queen's Plate at Woodbine on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Woodbine Oaks winner Holy Helena strutted her best stuff against the boys at Woodbine in Sunday’s $1 million Queen’s Plate, winning the 158th running of the prestigious event decisively under Luis Contreras.

Owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Holy Helena joined some select company with her popular victory. She is the seventh filly to pull off the Plate/Oaks double, joining the champions Lexie Lou, Inglorious, Dancethruthedawn, Dance Smartly, La Lorgnette, and Flaming Page.

Holy Helena, the 2-1 favorite in the 13-horse field of Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, had smooth sailing in the 10-furlong Tapeta event. She raced about three lengths off the lead in fifth on the backstretch, as State of Honor set fractions of 24.17, 48.67 and 1:13.23 before tiring.

A stalking Megagray inherited the lead entering the stretch, but was overtaken shortly thereafter by Holy Helena, who drew off abruptly to prevail by 3 1/2 lengths over a wide-closing Tiz a Slam.

Inflexibility, who was a troubled third as the favorite in the Oaks, rallied for third after running rank in the early going. She was followed by Channel Maker, Megagray, Spirit of Caledon, King and His Court, State of Honor, Aurora Way, Guy Caballero, Malibu Secret, Watch Me Strut, and Vaughan.

“I got a dream trip,” said Contreras, who won the 2011 Plate on Inglorious. “I was very confident the whole race. The whole trip, I was looking not to get stuck (behind) those horses in front of me. She had plenty of horse left at the end, and even galloping out she just continued running. I made my move at the quarter pole, and when I put her outside, she just continued. She did it so easy.”

Eurico Da Silva was elated with the effort put forth by his mount, Queen’s Plate Winterbook favorite Tiz a Slam.

“I could not be more happy,” Da Silva said. “He started getting bright for me the last quarter-mile, but the (winner) was a special horse. I passed a lot of horses, but I didn’t pass that one.”

Frank Stronach ruled out running Holy Helena back in the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes on the dirt at Fort Erie on July 25.

“Normally, I don’t like to run fillies or any horse back that quick after a big race,” Stronach said. “She gets a little break now. We might consider the Alabama (at Saratoga), which is about seven weeks away.”

Holy Helena ($6.20) earned $600,000, which boosted her bankroll to $957,000. She was making just her fourth start, after debuting April 15 at Aqueduct. She subsequently graduated at Belmont, and then won the June 11 Woodbine Oaks.

Holy Helena is by Ghostzapper, whose sire, Awesome Again, won the 1997 Plate in just his third career start for Stronach Stable.