Updated on 07/05/2015 8:02PM

Shaman Ghost captures Queen's Plate

Michael Burns
Rafael Hernandez reacts after crossing the finish line first with Shaman Ghost in the Queen's Plate.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario— Shaman Ghost collared the favored Danish Dynaformer in deep stretch to capture the 156th running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate under Rafael Hernandez at Woodbine on Sunday.

Shaman Ghost and Danish Dynaformer both raced far back early in the 10-furlong first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, while a rank Sweet Grass Creek set suicidal middle fractions. Danish Dynaformer mounted a wide rally on the far turn to take control through the stretch, before Shaman Ghost came flying on the outside to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths, in 2:03.45.

Conquest Boogaloo finished another half-length back in third in the 13-horse field of Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.  He was followed by Billy’s Star, Breaking Lucky, Oakton, Ault, Ami’s Flatter, Easy Indygo, Bear At Last, Portree, Sweet Grass Creek, and Academic. Milwaukee Mist was scratched. 

Shaman Ghost paid $8.60 as the second choice, and headed an exacta worth $28.30. The trifecta returned $156.60, and the superfecta yielded $639.90.

It was the first Plate mount for Hernandez, who got rave reviews from trainer Brian Lynch, who was also winning his first Plate.

“It was a very patient ride,” Lynch said. “The one-hole is always a tough go, and going down the backside, I was a little concerned that he was going to get boxed up in traffic. But by the time they started to sort themselves out around the turn, I could see a couple of jocks starting to panic, and I could just see Rafael’s red cap moving forward, trying to get himself into a good position. I knew this horse would have some finish to him. I knew I had the right rider. He gave this horse a fabulous ride.”

Hernandez said he watched Danish Dynaformer’s early bid before making his move.

“I let him pass me,” Hernandez said. “I know my horse always got a kick. So he did his thing. He made his kick down the lane, and we got ‘em back.”

Shaman Ghost won the Grade 3 Marine Stakes on May 16, and then bypassed the Plate Trial Stakes, because Lynch said he wanted a fresh horse for the Canadian Triple Crown. He graduated at Gulfstream before landing an allowance at Keeneland, and will be back on the surface of those two triumphs, dirt, in the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, the second leg of the series for 3-year-olds at Fort Erie on July 28.

Shaman Ghost banked $600,000 for Frank Stronach, who was in attendance for his third Plate win. A son of Ghostzapper, Shaman Ghost has career earnings of $749,914.

It was a heartbreaking loss for the trainer of Danish Dynaformer, Roger Attfield, who was seeking a record-breaking ninth Plate victory. He also saddled Billy’s Star.

“They were both excellent, but they got beat by the horse I was worried about,” Attfield said.