12/04/2009 12:00AM

Queen's Plate date changed

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Barbara D. Livingston
Careless Jewel, with Robert Landry up, faded in the BC Ladies' Classic.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The $1 million Queen's Plate for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds has been pushed back next year to Sunday, July 4, from its usual date of the third Sunday in June, Woodbine officials said Friday.

While Woodbine did not give a reason for moving the date of the Queen's Plate, the running will coincide with a planned visit from Queen Elizabeth II, who will be in Canada from June 28 through July 6 and should be in Ontario on Queen's Plate weekend.

This would be the first time since 1997 that the queen is on hand for the Queen's Plate and the second since 1973.

"We'll have to play with the rest of the stakes schedule a little bit to accommodate the preps," said Steve Lym, racing secretary and a director of racing at Woodbine.

Lym said there are no plans to keep the Queen's Plate at the later date in future years but would not rule out the possibility.

"It's at least something we'd look at," said Lym.

The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies will be run on June 13. In recent years it has been run two weeks before the Queen's Plate.

The 167-day Woodbine meet ends on Sunday, and opening day next year will be on April 2.

Aside from the moving of the Queen's Plate, there are few surprises expected for next season, which also will run for 167 days.

Landry 'ecstatic' about '09

Jockey Robert Landry has had a number of better years, in both the win column and in purse money earned by his mounts.

But Landry, at age 47, will look back upon the 2009 season as one of his more memorable campaigns.

"At this stage of my career, I'm ecstatic about my year," said Landry, who passed the 2,000 career win milestone this spring and had ridden 48 winners on the season heading into Friday's program. "I've always been a goal-setter, and I wanted to win 50 this year. But I could never have said I've had this kind of year in the States, riding such high-profile types of horses.

"When you get those kind of opportunities, all of a sudden you're riding better."

Careless Jewel, a 3-year-old filly trained by Josie Carroll, was the horse who put Landry on the map south of the border.

Winner of the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks, Saratoga's Grade 1 Alabama, and Philadelphia Park's Grade 2 Cotillion, Careless Jewel was the favorite in Santa Anita's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic but was rank on the front end and faltered to finish last.

The following day, Landry led for all but the last few strides before finishing second aboard Bridgetown in the Grade 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Landry had won the Grade 3 Summer here with Bridgetown, who is trained by Kentucky-based Ken McPeek.

Landry's other stakes winners here this year were Rahy's Attorney, whom he rode to victory in the Bunty Lawless and then guided to a second-place finish in the Grade 2 River City at Churchill Downs, and his longtime mount Authenicat, who captured the Ballade and then ran third in the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park.

After the meeting winds up here Landry will be taking a brief break and then following his usual winter routine in Florida.

"I'll be able to stay close to a few of my mounts," said Landry. "I like to stay in shape, getting on horses, and probably I'll ride a few at Gulfstream."

Moreno looks to settle in

Apprentice jockey Omar Moreno came to Woodbine following the close of the Northlands Park meeting with 31 wins on the Alberta bullrings under his belt this season.

Preparing for an afternoon at the races the other day, Moreno took a moment to reflect on his experiences here to date.

"So far, I like it," said the 24-year-old Moreno. "The horses, the people, everything is nice here. I don't want to go back."

Judging by the response to Moreno, who heading into Friday's program had ridden 18 winners here, including his first career triple on Wednesday night, the jockey will have no problem returning next spring, particularly since he will have his weight allowance until late November.

Hooking up here with agent Jack Lauzon, who retired from a highly successful career in the saddle following the 2007 meeting, Moreno has ridden for a variety of outfits.

"I put it down to people giving me a chance when I started here," said Moreno. "I always wanted to ride on Polytrack, and a mile track. To go from a five-furlong track to a mile, it's so much more relaxed."

Moreno, despite his relative inexperience, has shown the poise of a veteran on many occasions.

"I think I'm a pretty patient rider," said Moreno. "My agent told me 'You've got to listen to your horse.'

"I try to listen to what the trainer tells me before the race, but sometimes that changes when they come out of the gate."

Moreno will be returning to the Calgary, Alberta, area to visit with family through Christmas and then hopes to go to Florida to gallop and work horses.

In the meantime, his performance here has thrust him into the favorite's role for this year's Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding apprentice.

Two given whip penalties

Jockeys Justin Stein and Louis Contreras both will be serving one-day suspensions and have been fined $300 for their second whip violations under the new guidelines.

The stewards ruled that both riders "had used their whips in an excessive manner, more than three times in succession," Stein aboard last-place finisher Royal Explosive in the second race and Contreras on 12th-place finisher Nine Miracles in the 10th race here last Sunday.`