Updated on 07/10/2013 8:36AM

Woodbine: Midnight Aria wins Queen's Plate at 16-1

Michael Burns
Midnight Aria (No. 1), with Jesse Campbell aboard, won the Queen's Plate by a half-length Sunday for his first stakes victory.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Midnight Aria led all the way at 16-1 in Sunday’s $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine, holding off a charging Up With the Birds in the 154th running of the Canadian classic.

On paper, Midnight Aria was the lone speed in the 1 1/4-mile route. Under Jesse Campbell, he was allowed to set uncontested fractions of 24.63 seconds, 48.58, and 1:13.65 over a speed-favoring Polytrack surface that had taken heavy rainfall. He opened up a three-length cushion on the far turn before holding on for a half-length tally in 2:04.72.

“The trip was just like we were hoping,” Campbell said. “He broke good and was very comfortable from the get-go. I thought we were going a tick slower than what the fractions were, but with the rain, it does tighten up the track a little bit. I wanted to press the button at the three-eighths pole, which sounds too soon, but I wanted some separation turning for home. I didn’t care about opening up and getting beat at the wire. That’s the way I wanted it, and it worked.”

Up With the Birds, the 8-5 favorite trained by Malcolm Pierce, raced well back early before commencing a three-wide rally on the far turn under Eurico Rosa da Silva.

“I had a dream trip,” da Silva said. “Everything opened up for me, but [Midnight Aria] got away. In this rain, I was really scared of the speed. I moved my horse early to try and get a little closer, but we could not get there.”

Dynamic Sky and Spring in the Air, two Mark Casse-trained runners, finished a distant third and fourth. After failing to rate kindly, Nipissing, the 5-1 second choice, never reached contention and wound up eighth in the 12-horse field of Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Midnight Aria ($35.20) earned $600,000 for his first stakes score. He was claimed for a bargain $35,000 last winter at Gulfstream Park by Tucci Stable and trainer Nick Gonzalez. Gonzalez also won the 2010 Plate with the front-running Big Red Mike.

“I remember filling out the slip before we claimed him, [thinking] that he had to be a big, good-looking horse because they paid $80,000 for him as a yearling,” Gonzalez said.

Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
Nice to see the Midnite Lute doing well as a sire. I watched him win back 2 back BC Sprint. Nice win by Midnight Aria. Cogratulations to the connections.
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Midnight Lute! He was a freak of a racehorse. Back to Back BC Sprints!! The second time with a very abbreviated season a la Tiznow. Worked out incredibly fast. So big he couldn't fit in the gate. I believe Baffert was always high on ML. And his sire Real Quiet, I saw at the MassCap and if you put 4 bandages on him he coulda passed for a nickel claimer. Wires to straighten out his legs growing up. A bit of a rat, visually. ML turning into a distance sire even though he sprinted like Mr. Prospector and Blushing Groom's sire sprint champ Red God.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really do not understand the negativity about this? I wish I bet the winner but I did not. We have had many longshot winners in the KY Derby recently. Campbell rode a great race and did what he could to pull it out. Aria may not win another race again, but it happens all the time in the states. For example, Mine That Bird, Super Saver, & Giacomo.
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
Giacomo did win again at 4.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
What happened to HisRaceTo Win? That horse should have been in serious contention. John V., please explain what happened?
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
This horse had no business winning. Canadian breds are as weak as they come.
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
Weaker then NY breds? He has four legs doesn't he!
Railbird Brad More than 1 year ago
Maybe its time to realise American jockets ride circles layover the canadian based muppets.
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
What the hell did u say. English fella.
Justin Time More than 1 year ago
Woodbine Entertainment had a fantastic day. The handle was nearly ten million. It’s about the only favorable thing one can say about the Weekend of Shame fpr Canadian Racing at Woodbine. (1) It makes one wonder why none of the jockeys challenged such a common claiming racehorse? (2) Claimed over the winter at Gulfstream for $35000 and barely was good enough to break his maiden. All of a sudden wins the Queen’s Plate. (3) Racing over the trash called poly especially when it rains becomes a nightmare. (4) One wonders why the Pick4 was paid on 2-5/ALL/1/1. What’s with the ALL on a Stake race scheduled for Turf and run on poly trash without any concern to the horses that shipped in and were not allowed to scratch? (5) How sad what the Woodbine management is continuing to fabricate to bring down Canadian Racing. Where are the Provincial Government and the Ontario Racing Commission?
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Why shouldn't they pay out on "ALL". When it was taken off the turf the horse that won was a LOCK. On turf, the same horse was 4th or 5th best at the most. Why should i suffer for not including him on a P4 ....It isn't like everyone gets the post time favorite for a scratch.
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
A previous turf race on the card was run in a time 15 seconds slower than the track record. The turf course was an absolute bog - unsafe for horse and rider. Thank goodness they had polytrack. The jockeys actually like polytrack when it rains - they all say it tightens up the track and horses get a good hold of it.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Sidman More than 1 year ago
Yes ... can't match the thrill of watching Game on Dude or Wise Dan defeating awful 5-horse fields ....
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
The thing about Game on Dude and Wise Dan is that they are PHENOMENAL specimen! You can run both of them in that Queens Plate and they would run 1-2 EVERY YEAR!
Allan Gauthier More than 1 year ago
If they were 3yr olds forever!! LOL
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
You're not a very bright one are you? My sarcasm had nothing to do with the 3 year old requirement, it had everything to do with the fact that the two horses can beat Canadian Queens Plate entrants on a yearly basis. You jumped the gun once again just as you did earlier when I commented about the win wagers. Remember you told me that Canada doesn't take out the tax? Well why did you assume the player was gambling within Canada? Think before you speak.
Allan Gauthier More than 1 year ago
Sorry Mark! I just couldn't help pointing out your stupid comments.
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
Why not run GOD and WD against the two year olds too.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
You two missed the point completely. It was stated that this was more exciting than watching Game On Dude and Wise Dan beat up on weak fields. My response was at least Game on Dude and Wise Dan win, then win, then win. As senior citizens, the two of them could beat these horses up on any given race day making watching the two old horses run more exciting.
Allan Gauthier More than 1 year ago
Mark! You didn't even KNOW that we don't withhold tax up here. Its the QUEENSPLATE in CANADA. Why would ANYONE assume anything else?? Your analogy on WD and GOD beating Canadian breds is just plain dumb.
Gary Camejo More than 1 year ago
Poor judgement on Da Silva's part just poor...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Way to go Jesse Campbell. Chicago was pulling for you!