07/02/2013 1:01PM

Woodbine: Queen's Plate prospective field holds steady at 11


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – It was quiet on the Queen’s Plate front here Tuesday, with the 11 confirmed entrants all having completed their major work for Sunday’s $1 million showpiece.

The post position draw for the Queen’s Plate, the 1 1/4-mile race that is the first leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will take place at the annual Queen’s Plate breakfast here Thursday.

Woodbine still employs the two-tiered process for the Queen’s Plate, with the connections first drawing for their order of selection and then choosing their post positions following a brief period of consultation.

Roger Attfield, who has won a record-tying eight Queen’s Plates but will be a spectator for this year’s running, will assist in the draw, with Steve Lym, Woodbine’s racing secretary and director of racing, presiding.

Woodbine announcer Dan Loiselle will host the festivities.

Four stakes on Plate undercard

The Queen’s Plate will be one of five stakes here Sunday, with the Grade 2 Highlander, Grade 2 Dance Smartly, and Grade 3 Singspiel all going on the turf course and the listed Clarendon on the main track.

The field for the $200,000, six-furlong Highlander remained in flux as of Tuesday morning, with a field of at least 10 3-year-olds and up expected.

Something Extra, coming off an impressive front-running win for trainer Gail Cox in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup over seven furlongs of turf here May 26, is the top local hopeful.

Invaders eyeing the Highlander include Next Question, winner of last year’s Nearctic here over the same distance and surface for conditioner Michael Trombetta; Rothko, a stakes winner who would be making his turf debut for Steve Asmussen; and Super Chunky, who has placed in several turf stakes for trainer Ken Cox.

The Grade 2 Dance Smartly, a 1 1/8-mile race, should feature a rematch between Solid Appeal and Irish Mission in a field of as many as 12 fillies and mares.

Solid Appeal, conditioned by Reade Baker, upset the Mark Frostad-trained reigning female turf champion Irish Mission here in the Grade 2 Nassau over one mile of grass May 25.

Moment of Majesty and Hard Not to Like, stakes winners when based at Woodbine but now in new barns south of the border, are scheduled to return for the Dance Smartly.

Forte dei Marmi, trained by Attfield, heads a prospective field of eight for the Singspiel, a 1 1/2-mile race for 3-year-olds and up.

Go Greeley, an impressive first-out winner for owner and trainer John Ross, looms an odds-on choice in the Clarendon, a 5 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-bred 2-year-olds.

◗ A Woodbine Entertaiment Group delegation was on hand for the opening of the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning, and Sandy Hawley got to ring the bell heralding the start of the day’s trading. Hawley won four Queen’s Plates during his riding career and is tied in that category with Robin Platts and the late Avelino Gomez.