07/03/2016 6:52PM

Sir Dudley Digges surprises Amis Gizmo, wins Queen's Plate

Michael Burns
Sir Dudley Digges wins the 157th Queen’s Plate at Woodbine on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario — Sir Dudley Digges, a Kentucky shipper owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, collared  Amis Gizmo in deep stretch to win the 157th running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine on Sunday.

With Julien Leparoux riding for trainer Mike Maker, Sir Dudley Digges raced in sixth and then fifth early in the 10-furlong event, as Shakhimat set slow fractions of :24.19 and :49.92 and 1:14.74.

Amis Gizmo, the 5-2 favorite in the 13-horse field of Canadian-breds, stalked on the outside under Luis Contreras, and then hit the front on the far turn. He opened up a clear lead in midstretch, and seemed headed for victory before the 15-1 Sir Dudley Digges closed in the final furlong to prevail by a half-length, in a time of 2:04.09.

All On Red rallied from well back to finish another length and three-quarters back in third. He was followed by Scholar Athlete, Shakhimat, Leavem in Malibu, Gamble’s Ghost, Rocket Plan, Cheburashka, Narrow Escape, Esposito, My Name Is Jim, and Mike.

After sweeping both 2-year-old stakes last night at Churchill, Leparoux said he was operating on only a few hours sleep.

“The trip today, I think, was the key,” Leparoux said. “He left the gate pretty good. We got a good spot, but they slowed the pace down a lot in the first turn. I was a bit worried. Actually, on the backside, they started to pick it up. We got a clear run at the end. He just (grinded it out) to the wire.”

Sir Dudley Digges was coming off a third-place finish behind Amis Gizmo and Shakhimat in the nine-furlong Plate Trial, which was his first start since graduating in April at Keeneland. Getting a race over the Tapeta was an important part of his Plate preparations for the son of Gio Ponti, according to Maker, who said the horse has finally put it all together.  

“He’s a good, laid-back horse,” Maker said. “It just took him a while to come around. Early on, we liked him, but he had a tendency to hang. He should have broken his maiden a lot earlier than he did.” 

Ken Ramsey said he bet $600 across the board on Sir Dudley Digges, who paid $33.90 to win. Ramsey said plans on running him back in the final two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown. They are the $500,000 Prince of Wales on the dirt at Fort Erie on July 26, and the $500,000 Breeders’ on the turf here on Aug. 21.

“We are going for the Triple Crown,” Ramsey said. “I think this horse can run on grass, Tapeta, dirt, you name it.”