07/01/2010 11:00PM

Leslie makes tough call to add filly to Queen's Plate


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - With Queen Elizabeth II in attendance, the filly Moment of Majesty would be an appropriate winner of Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate.

But, Moment of Majesty was not even confirmed as a Queen's Plate starter until late Wednesday afternoon after trainer and part-owner Sue Leslie did some serious soul searching and decided to ante up the supplementary entry fee of $25,000 on Thursday morning.

Moment of Majesty, whom Leslie owns in partnership with former National Hockey League goaltender Curtis Joseph and player agent Don Meehan, is coming into the Queen's Plate off a nose defeat in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks. That June 13 race was the third of the season for Moment of Majesty, following a third-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette and a victory in a first-level allowance at seven furlongs.

"I was very reluctant to run the filly in the Plate," said Leslie. "I thought we were squeezing the lemon a little bit. She's had several races three weeks apart."

In the end, there were several factors that led Leslie to reevaluate her position.

"Most importantly, the filly's doing good," said Leslie. "And earlier this week, there were several defections which we thought were significant."

One of those was Artic Fern, who would have been one of the favorites but was injured during his final Queen's Plate tune-up.

But more importantly, at least from the Leslie camp's perspective, was the news that Embur's Song would not be back for the Queen's Plate after taking the field almost wire to wire before finishing third in the Woodbine Oaks.

Todd Pletcher, trainer of Embur's Song, opted to await next Sunday's $250,000 Bison City, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

"That had an influence," said Leslie. "Curtis really respects that filly, and so do I."

And, admits Leslie, there is the obvious allure of the Queen's Plate itself.

"At the end of the day, everybody wants to be in the Queen's Plate," said Leslie. "You don't get the chance very often.

"We had a democratic vote, and the vote was to go."