07/04/2013 10:52AM

Queen's Plate: Up With the Birds lands post 7 as favorite

Michael Burns
Up With the Birds (left) trains with stablemate His Race to Win at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Up With the Birds, an impressive winner of the May 26 Marine Stakes, has been made the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Sunday’s 154th running of the Queen’s Plate.

A field of 12 for the Queen’s Plate, the 1 1/4-mile race that is the first leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, was drawn at the annual Queen’s Plate breakfast here Thursday.

The connections of Up With the Birds, a Sam-Son Farm homebred trained by Malcolm Pierce, wound up with the first choice of post positions in the two-tiered selection process, and the colt will begin from the 7-hole under regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva.

“Da Silva wanted to be there anyway,” Pierce said. “He won his first Plate from there, with Eye of the Leopard in 2009.”

Pierce also will send out Plate Trial runner-up His Race to Win for the Queen’s Plate and will watch that Sam-Son homebred break from post 11 after drawing the ninth pick. John Velazquez will be in the irons for the first time.

His Race to Win is 10-1 in Woodbine oddsmaker Ernie Perri’s morning line.

Nipissing, who defeated Spring in the Air in the June 9 Woodbine Oaks at 1 1/8 miles, is the second choice at 7-2.

Trained by Rachel Halden, Nipissing is a Chiefswood Stable homebred who will start from post 9 under regular rider Steven Bahen. Nipissing’s connections wound up with the seventh choice in the selection process.

“We’re fine with that,” Halden said regarding the post. “In an ideal world, we might have preferred 6 or 7, but we’re happy with it.”

Mark Casse will send out Dynamic Sky, Spring in the Air, Jagger M, and Kaigun for the Queen’s Plate.

Joel Rosario is named on both Dynamic Sky and Spring in the Air, but his first choice is Dynamic Sky. Gary Boulanger will ride Spring in the Air.

Dynamic Sky, the nose winner of the June 9 Plate Trial under Rosario, is the 4-1 third choice and ended up with the No. 2 post after his connections selected 11th.

Spring in the Air, who is coming off a second-place finish in the Woodbine Oaks and will begin from post 4, has been pegged at 10-1.

Jagger M and Kaigun finished sixth and seventh in the Plate Trial and are longshots at 20-1.

Shaun Bridgmohan, leading rider at the recently concluded Churchill Downs meeting, has a return engagement aboard Jagger M, while Justin Stein will ride Kaigun for the first time.

Pyrite Mountain, one of two horses in the Queen’s Plate trained by Mark Frostad, finished fourth as the favorite in the Plate Trial and also is held as a 6-1 chance heading into the Queen’s Plate.

Leading rider Luis Contreras retains the mount on Pyrite Mountain.

Pyrite Mountain’s stablemate County Lineman is held at 30-1, and Alex Solis has been named to ride.

Trainer Nick Gonzalez has two Queen’s Plate entrants in Midnight Aria and River Seven, the respective third- and eighth-place finishers in the Plate Trial.

Midnight Aria is 15-1 on the line and will be ridden by regular rider Jesse Campbell.

River Seven, who had a horrible start last time, has been slotted at 20-1 with Todd Kabel returning to do the honors.

Rackman, the field’s longshot at 50-1, will be ridden by Jim McAleney.

The Queen’s Plate will go as the 10th race on a 12-race card that also includes the Grade 2 Highlander, Grade 2 Dance Smartly, Grade 3 Singspiel, and listed Clarendon stakes.

First post is 12:25 p.m. Eastern