06/03/2016 11:46AM

Woodbine Oaks, Queen's Plate Trial fields coming together

Email
Keeneland/Coady Photography
Shakhimat will look to rebound from a ninth-place finish in the American Turf when he runs in next Sunday's Queen's Plate Trial.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The 157th running of the $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine is a month away, and the main contenders are beginning to put in their final preps for the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown on July 3.

Two key local preps for the Queen’s Plate – the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks and the $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes – are scheduled for Sunday, June 12, and the fields for those 1 1/8-mile races are beginning to take shape.

The field for the Woodbine Oaks is led by the first- and second-place finishers from the Grade 3 Selene Stakes, Gamble’s Ghost and Caren. Caren led throughout the Selene but couldn’t hold off Gamble’s Ghost in the final strides. Both fillies have subsequently recorded works and are nominated for the Queen’s Plate.

As many as 11 fillies could be entered in the Oaks, including four from the barn of trainer Mike Doyle. Doyle’s contingent is led by Tiz Imaginary, who overcame a troubled trip to win the Fury Stakes by a half-length over Jennifer Lynnette on May 22.

Doyle will also run Crumlin Spirit, Dublin Diva, and Garavogue Colleen in the Oaks. Crumlin Spirit won the Lady Angela Stakes over seven furlongs May 1 and was third behind Tiz Imaginary in the Fury in her last start. Dublin Diva has won two of her first three starts, including a seven-furlong allowance last time out.

Finally, Garavogue Colleen has run second in three consecutive starts, including the Ontario Lassie Stakes last November, but should appreciate the added distance.

Trini Brewnette won the South Ocean Stakes last season and is likely to run in the Oaks for trainer Daniel Vella. She ran third in the Lady Angela Stakes to kick off her 3-year-old campaign but was most recently sixth in the Fury Stakes.

:: QUEEN’S PLATE WATCH: Alex Campbell and Ron Gierkink’s Top 10 contenders

Neshama was fifth in the Lady Angela Stakes in her first start of the year but followed up that effort with a win over 1 1/16 miles in an Ontario-sired allowance May 18 for trainer Catherine Day Phillips.

Trainer Mark Casse could have a pair of fillies for the Oaks, Luckbe Tanya and Conquest Partygirl. Luckbe Tanya was fifth in an allowance in her most recent start May 28, while Conquest Partygirl defeated Ontario-sired maidens by 3 1/4 lengths on May 22. Conquest Partygirl is not nominated to the Oaks and would have to be supplemented to the race at a cost of $12,500.

Rounding out the list of possible fillies for the Oaks is Swoop and Strike for trainer Malcolm Pierce. Swoop and Strike is under consideration after running second behind Dublin Diva in her most recent start May 7. She was also fourth in the Star Shoot Stakes on April 16 to begin her 3-year-old season.

The Plate Trial could see as many as nine entered, pending supplemental entries, but three of those horses could run in allowance races next weekend. All On Red is eligible for an allowance over 1 1/16 miles next Saturday, while Mike and Narrow Escape could enter an Ontario-sired allowance Friday or the open allowance the following day. However, all three horses could find themselves in the Plate Trial if those allowance races don’t fill.

Other local contenders for the Plate Trial include Shakhimat, Amis Gizmo, and Aye Aye Captain. Shakhimat won the Coronation Futurity by 9 3/4 lengths in his last start at Woodbine in November but will be looking to rebound off his ninth-place finish in the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 7. Amis Gizmo would also be looking to rebound in the Plate Trial after running fifth in the Wando Stakes on April 24 in his 3-year-old debut. Aye Aye Captain was second in his first start as a 3-year-old in an allowance race over seven furlongs on Tapeta on May 8.

A pair of American-based horses could be considering the Plate Trial. Battery last ran in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in March but had a pair of strong races at Gulfstream this past winter. Sir Dudley Digges, meanwhile, won his maiden in his last start April 22, leading gate to wire on turf at Keeneland.

Rounding out the list of potential runners for the Plate Trial is Queenston Stakes winner Conquest Enforcer, who is also being considered for the Grade 2, $200,000 King Edward Stakes on turf July 2.

Entries for both the Woodbine Oaks and Plate Trial will be taken Thursday.