06/23/2013 11:53AM

Woodbine: Nipissing among five Queen's Plate contenders putting in works

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Michael Burns
Woodbine Oaks winner Nipissing breezed a half-mile in 48.20 seconds Sunday in preparation for the July 7 Queen's Plate.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Five of the leading candidates for the Queen’s Plate breezed on the main track here Sunday, as Nipissing, Dynamic Sky, Spring in the Air, His Race to Win, and Up With the Birds all got in their penultimate workouts.

The $1 million Queen’s Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run July 7.

Nipissing, the winner of the June 9 Woodbine Oaks for trainer Rachel Halden, was clocked in 48.20 seconds for her four furlongs under regular rider Steven Bahen.

“She’s fit, this filly,” Halden said. “She trains forwardly every day. I’m not really doing anything much serious with her until the Queen’s Plate.”

Spring in the Air, beaten three-quarters of a length as the runner-up in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks, worked five furlongs in company with her Mark Casse-trained stablemate, Dynamic Sky, who won the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial one race earlier on the June 9 card.

Gary Boulanger was aboard Spring in the Air, who finished just ahead of her stablemate in 59.20, which was the best of 65 workouts at the distance. Exercise rider Jason Hoyte partnered with Dynamic Sky, who was timed in 59.40.

“The filly had a big weight advantage,” Casse said. “She was carrying about 20 or 25 pounds less. They went around together, and they galloped out together. Today was their big work. A couple of weeks out, I wanted them to get something out of it. Both were really good works.”

His Race to Win, the Plate Trial runner-up, and Up With the Birds, the early Queen’s Plate favorite off his 4 3/4-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Marine Stakes here May 26, went in company along with stablemate Smartyfly.

“They worked a little bit faster than I wanted them to, but that was their big work,” trainer Malcolm Pierce said. “Now they can do something a little easier next Sunday.”

His Race to Win, under exercise rider Chris Garraway, and Up With the Birds, with regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva aboard, both were clocked in 59.40 for five furlongs.

“Smartyfly broke off about four lengths in front, and they all finished up together,” Pierce said.

Exercise rider Mark Ramsammy did the honors on Smartyfly, who was timed in 1:00. Smartyfly is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Woodbine Oaks and is aiming for next Sunday’s $250,000 Bison City, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.