04/25/2012 1:31PM

Woodbine: Incredicat proves Queen's Plate bona fides in Wando

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Michael Burns
Incredicat goes wire to wire to win the Wando Stakes under Luis Contreras.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Incredicat passed his first serious Queen’s Plate test with flying colors with a 1 3/4-length score here in last Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Wando Stakes.

Incredicat had won his maiden over 5 1/2 furlongs at first asking here last Dec. 4, but then got caught up in a speed duel when finishing third in a 6 1/2-furlong first-level allowance at Gulfstream on March 24.

Racing last Saturday with blinkers off, Incredicat relaxed nicely under Luis Contreras and turned back a couple of challenges while leading at every call.

“He might have exceeded our expectations, with the fact that he would go his first quarter in 25 and one,” said Ian Black, who trains Incredicat for a high-powered partnership that includes Woodbine’s chairman of the board David Willmot and directors John Fielding, Ben Hutzel, Clay Horner, and Doug Murphy. “It’s not that there was real pressure but they were sitting outside him, and that could have made him keen. We’d been working on getting him to relax behind horses. And, Luis gave him a very, very good ride.”

The next major stakes stepping-stones on the road to the June 24 Queen’s Plate are the $150,000 Marine, an open race at 1 1/16 miles here May 12, and the $150,000 Plate Trial, for Canadian-breds at 1 1/8 miles on June 3.

“I’ll see how he’s training, but I think the timing’s good to run in both races,” said Black. “I don’t particularly want to go six weeks without running him. And with allowance races, there’s a chance they won’t go. At least with a stakes, you know it’s going to go and you can plan for it.”

The Queen’s Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, offers a purse of $1 million.