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Updated on 07/10/2013 7:36AM
Woodbine: Midnight Aria wins Queen's Plate at 16-1
By Ron Gierkink
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.
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.
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.
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.
What happened to HisRaceTo Win? That horse should have been in serious contention. John V., please explain what happened?
This horse had no business winning. Canadian breds are as weak as they come.
Maybe its time to realise American jockets ride circles layover the canadian based muppets.
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?
Poor judgement on Da Silva's part just poor...
Way to go Jesse Campbell. Chicago was pulling for you!
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