06/02/2017 10:46AM

Queen's Plate: Tiz a Slam could be Attfield's record-breaker

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Michael Burns
Cup and Saucer winner Tiz a Slam will try to give trainer Roger Attfield a record ninth Queen's Plate win.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – When Roger Attfield last won the Queen’s Plate in 2008 with Not Bourbon, he matched Harry Giddings Jr.’s record for Queen’s Plate wins by a trainer with eight. Attfield has had seven Queen’s Plate starters since then, including a pair of favorites in Check Your Soul and Danish Dynaformer, who ran second to Shaman Ghost in 2015.

This year, the Chiefswood Stables homebred Tiz a Slam could be the one to finally give Attfield a record ninth Queen’s Plate win. Despite having come close to setting that mark in the past, Attfield said he hasn’t thought much about it.

“It would be nice to break the record, but I don’t get overly concerned about it or think about it too much, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’m just very grateful that I’ve won eight of them. If it happens, it happens, but it’s not something that’s a do-or-die effort. It’s another horse race, and you’ve got to win it.”

Queen's Plate pedigree analysis: Tiz a Slam

The partnership between Attfield and Chiefswood Stables began only in 2015. Tiz a Slam is among the second crop of Chiefswood horses sent to Attfield, along with Princess Elizabeth Stakes winner Ghostly Presence and recent maiden winner Final Copy. Attfield said he believes Chiefswood is set up for success.

“They have excellent facilities,” he said. “They have an excellent farm. Everything is really, really nice. They’re breeding to some major stallions, and I feel that the stable could go on and do some really good things over the next few years.”

That could include a second Queen’s Plate win for Chiefswood with Tiz a Slam, following Niigon in 2004. Tiz a Slam quickly established himself as a Queen’s Plate contender as a 2-year-old, winning three of his four starts in 2016, including the Cup and Saucer Stakes. Attfield said that when Tiz a Slam joined his stable, he wasn’t sure whether he would race as a 2-year-old.

“He’s a very, very big colt,” he said. “I was surprised that I got to the point where he was ready to run. I said at that time that I wouldn’t run him any more than four times. After the Cup and Saucer, it would have been very easy to fall into the trap of running in the Coronation, but I felt that’s what I need to do with him, and I think I was right.”

Tiz a Slam spent the winter with Attfield at Payson Park in Indiantown, Fla., with the trainer hoping he would be able to test the colt in Kentucky Derby preps on dirt.

“We had intended to run him in the winter and see whether he stacked up with the horses down there, but he went through another growing stage down there, and he just wasn’t ready for me to run him in any of those races,” he said. “That’s why he didn’t run until early spring.”

Tiz a Slam made his 3-year-old debut with a fifth-place finish after running wide in the Columbia Stakes over a mile on turf at Tampa Bay Downs on March 11. Attfield had hoped to run Tiz a Slam back in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes on dirt at Keeneland in April, but the son of Tiznow wasn’t training to Attfield’s expectations.

“He just wasn’t going like I wanted him to do,” Attfield said. “I wasn’t 100 percent happy with him, and you don’t go into those races when you’re not 100 percent happy or you’re going to be very unhappy down the road. I do know that.”

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Tiz a Slam returned to Woodbine and made his next start in the Wando Stakes on May 7, running second behind King and His Court over 1 1/16 miles on Tapeta. Attfield said he was pleased with the effort.

“I think taking everything into consideration, I thought he ran a good race, and the owners are happy with him,” he said.

Tiz a Slam is on track to have his final prep for the Queen’s Plate in the $125,000 Plate Trial Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on Tapeta on June 11. Attfield said Tiz a Slam has been training well coming out of the Wando Stakes.

“He’s a very laid-back and a very curious horse,” he said. “He spends a lot of time just staring out the window. He watches the planes. He watches everything. He’s relatively easy to train. He’s a nice horse. He’s coming along well, it’s just going to be a question of whether he’s good enough on the day.”