Updated on 06/27/2011 4:46PM

Woodbine: Carroll savors second Plate victory

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Michael Burns
Jockey Luis Contreras celebrates his Queen's Plate victory aboard Inglorious.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Is the second time just as sweet?

Josie Carroll had her first Queen’s Plate winner in 2006 when Edenwold, a colt owned by Albertans Jim and Alice Sapara, turned the trick at 16-1.

This past Sunday, Carroll was back in the Queen’s Plate winner’s circle with another set of Albertans, Vern and Donna Dubinsky, and their filly Inglorious, who was sent off as the third favorite at 9-2.

“The first time was pretty overwhelming,” said Carroll on Monday morning, as she plucked flowers from the winner’s Queen’s Plate blanket that she will press and add to her trophy case along with those from Edenwold’s bouquet.

“To win it with a filly was different, but equally wonderful.”

Inglorious had captured the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks on June 5, three weeks after taking the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette. Her Beyer Speed Figure for the Queen’s Plate came back at 90, an improvement of seven points over her Oaks victory.

“I think it’s exceptional that a filly can do a thing like that, said Carroll. “But, she actually went into this race better than she went into the Oaks. Every day, she just got better.

“Last night, we had a lot of people out to the barn to look at her, and she just kept putting her head into the feed tub.

“The exceptional thing about this filly is how she handles everything. She’s doing great this morning.”

Immediately after the Queen’s Plate, Carroll and the Dubinskys faced the inevitable question of whether Inglorious would continue on the Canadian triple crown trail. The $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, run over 1 3/16 on Fort Erie’s dirt course, is the next stop in the series for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

And while Inglorious is proven on dirt, having finished second in the 1 1/16-mile Rachel Alexandra at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 19, there are questions other than surface to consider.

“We’ll just have to sit down and carefully plan out a campaign that will be in her best interests,” said Carroll.

Recalling another class act

At approximately this time two years ago, Carroll and the Dubinskys were getting into a roll with the Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly Careless Jewel, who had won her maiden an a first-level allowance race here in impressive fashion.

Careless Jewel went on to win the Grade 1 Delaware Oaks, Grade 1 Alabama, and Grade 2 Cotillion before faltering as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, which turned out to be her last start. She was retired the following year and sold at auction for $1,950,000.

“Comparing them would be like comparing apples and oranges,” said Carroll. “They’re equally talented but totally different types of horses, in terms of styles of running and temperament.”

Dubinsky also took the high road in comparing the two fillies.

“They’re like the 1 and 1A,” he said.

Contreras hits high note, too

Winning the Queen’s Plate also was the latest and largest feather in the cap of jockey Luis Contreras, who has been the dominant rider at Woodbine this year.

“It’s more than amazing,” said Contreras, a 25-year-old native of Mexico who moved his tack here three years ago to ride first-call for trainer Steve Asmussen but had his immigration status upgraded last fall, and now the entire training colony at his disposal.

“She’s a very smart filly. And when I worked her back, after she won the Woodbine Oaks, she worked very, very well.”

Heading into Wednesday’s program Contreras had won 78 races, a lead of 19 over second-place Patrick Husbands, and his earnings of $4,574,336. Husbands also was second in that category, with $2,779,573.

Contreras also won Sunday’s Grade 2 Highlander aboard Signature Red and Saturday’s Charlie Barley to take the lead in stakes won with nine.

A testament to the popularity of Contreras is that he had ridden five of the Queen’s Plate contestants in their latest starts. He had been in a similar position with Inglorious heading into the Woodbine Oaks, which had just nine entrants.

Winner’s stablemate to get a breather

Seawatch, the “other” horse who contested the Queen’s Plate for Carroll and the Dubinskys, finished sixth lengths behind Inglorious as the sixth-place finisher in just his third start of the season.

“I thought he ran a great race,” said Carroll, who had watched Seawatch finish fifth in the 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park here two weeks earlier.

“He just got a little tired. Two weeks between races may have taken its toll a little bit.

“I think he needs to freshen up a little bit now, and look at the Breeders’. Down the road, I don’t think you’ve seen the last of Seawatch.”

The $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile turf race that is the final leg of the triple crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run here

Two-three finish for stallion

Also a big winner on Sunday’s program was Denny Andrews, another of the Albertans in town for the Queen’s Plate.

Andrews is a part owner of Pender’s Harbour, a son of Philanthropist who picked up a nice paycheck of $110,000 for his third-place finish.

Philanthropist also sired Hippolytus, the Queen’s Plate runner-up, and stands for Andrews at Gardiner Farm in Ontario.

Excellent business for the big day

The Woodbine Entertainment Group was giving itself a well-deserved pat on the back after the numbers for Sunday’s program were released.

Total all-sources handle for the 12-race card was $8,768,145, exceeding the total for any card in Woodbine history save the 1996 Breeders’ Cup program.

The figure represented an increase of 28.6 percent over last year’s $6,815,673, which was the previous record.

Handle on the Queen’s Plate itself soared to $2,893,357. That figure represented a 35.7 percent increase over last year’s $2,131,074, when 13 horses went to the post, four fewerthan in this year’s running.

The estimated attendance for this year’s Queen’s Plate program was 28,000, which was remarkable considering the corresponding figure last year was 30,000 with Queen Elizabeth II in attendance.

Barring the unavoidable congestion, the day appeared to go quite congenially, with the exception of the high-handed behavior of some security personnel who were not Woodbine employees but were brought in to supplement regular staff.