06/23/2005 12:00AM

Late entry brings cast to 10


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Dance With Ravens and Gold Strike, who are expected to vie for favoritism in Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate, will have eight rivals in a competitive 146th running of Canada's most prestigious race.

A surprise entrant, the maiden Molinaro Beau, joined the prospective field here Thursday morning when a ceremonial draw was conducted at the annual Queen's Plate breakfast.

In the two-tiered draw, a selection order first was established and the connections then chose their own post positions.

Posts should not be much of a factor at the Queen's Plate's 1 1/4-mile distance, with its long run to the first turn.

The participants, however, seemed concerned with the relative positioning of their charges and outside posts were preferred.

Gold Strike's connections had the first choice, and her trainer, Reade Baker, opted for post 7.

"I hope to get the speed inside us, but I don't want to be hung up outside with her, either," said Baker

Gold Strike, winner of the 1 1/8-mile Labatt Woodbine Oaks June 12, is Daily Racing Form's 3-1 second choice. Regular rider Jim McAleney has the mount on Gold Strike, the only filly in the Plate field.

The connections of Dance With Ravens wound up with a choice between the two inside and two outside posts, and his trainer, Mark Frostad, opted for post 9. Regular Todd Kabel retains the mount on Dance With Ravens, who is DRF's 5-2 choice.

"He's got plenty of time to get a position and see what's going on," said Frostad.

Dance With Ravens finished first in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial here June 5 but was disqualified and placed sixth, leaving Three in the Bag to inherit the top spot, with Get Down moving up to second.

Three in the Bag's connections had the third choice of posts, and the horse will begin from post 8 under Robert Landry.

Get Down's connections selected eighth and opted for post 10.

Other leading members of the Queen's Plate field include Wild Desert (post 5), who checked in from Monmouth Park late Wednesday afternoon, and King of Jazz (post 4), who was due in from Churchill Downs on Friday morning.