06/04/2012 3:17PM

Woodbine: River Rush establishes himself with Plate Trial victory

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Michael Burns
River Rush, with Jim McAleney riding, wins the Plate Trial.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – It was only by circumstance that River Rush ran in last Sunday’s $151,200 Plate Trial.

Reade Baker, who trains the homebred River Rush for Stronach Stable, initially had entered the colt in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race scheduled for Sunday while reserving the Plate Trial as an option.

“I had to get a race into him,” said Baker. “There’s another maiden race Friday, but I didn’t know if that would go either.

“I had to run him in one of those three spots, if I was going to have a chance of making the Plate with him.”

When the entries closed at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, and the maiden race had failed to fill, River Rush became the 11th entrant in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

River Rush, making just his third career start, closed from last place to score by an emphatic 5 1/4 lengths with Jim McAleney picking up the mount.

“He ran better than I thought he would,” said Baker. “He got a superb ride. Jim had to wait on him around the turn or he might have won by more.”

Despite River Rush’s dominance, Baker is somewhat reserved when it comes to the colt’s Queen’s Plate participation.

“My enthusiasm is tempered by the three weeks,” said Baker. “If I had five or six weeks I’d be really happy.”

The $1 million Queen’s Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run on June 24.

Incredicat, who had bounced to the lead from his inside post, set a solid pace and wound up second in the Plate Trial.

“I was delighted with him,” said trainer Ian Black, who had watched Incredicat to win the 1 1/16-mile Wando on the front end but then finish last of six at the same distance after setting the pace in the Marine.

“I know the track is fast, but he ran fast and, apart from one horse, he hung on very well.

“I don’t think he’s a mile-and-a-quarter horse, and it’s far from certain that we’ll go on to the Queen’s Plate. But, we’ll see.”

Classic Bryce finished third in the Plate Trial, one length behind Incredicat, in an effort that pleased his trainer, Darwin Banach.

“I thought it was a fantastic prep for the big dance, “said Banach, who had sent out Classic Bryce to run second in both the Wando and the Marine.

“That’s been our plan since January, and it’s coming along 100 percent.”

Big Creek, racing with blinkers on after running third in the Wando, finished a head behind Classic Bryce as the fourth-place finisher in the Plate Trial.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Big Creek has headed back to his Saratoga base with a decision pending on his return for the Queen’s Plate.

Peyton, beaten just two lengths for second place while finishing fifth in the Plate Trial, remains on the Queen’s Plate trail.

“He ran well enough to go on,” said Michael Doyle, who trains the homebred Peyton for Bill Graham. “He’ll like the mile and a quarter.”

Making Amends, beaten a total of 8 3/4 lengths as the sixth-place Plate Trial finisher under rider Eurico Da Silva, is less certain to proceed to the Queen’s Plate.

“Eurico said he wasn’t crazy about being inside, but he couldn’t get him out,” said Casse. “And, it was his first time around two turns. I don’t know if I’ll run him in the Queen’s Plate or not.”

Trainer Josie Carroll sent out Beeker Street to finish seventh and Drago’s Best to run last, with both making their two-turn debuts in the Plate Trial.

Beeker Street, coming off a win in the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes in his second career outing, pressed Incredicat’s pace but tired at the top of the stretch.

“When you compare the times for the day, the fractions for a mile and an eighth were pretty stiff,” said Carroll. “I think we have to take a pretty hard look [at the Queen’s Plate] and make some decisions.

“I was disappointed with Drago’s Best – he flattened out. He’s probably off the Plate trail.”

Dead On finished eighth in the Plate Trial for trainer Malcolm Pierce and owner/breeder Sam-Son Farm.

“I think we’ve probably lost any aspirations of running him in the Queen’s Plate,” said Pierce.

Dead On, who ran well on the dirt at the Fair Grounds this spring, could be pointed for Fort Erie’s July 15 Prince of Wales, the 1 3/16-mile race that offers a purse of $500,000 and follows the Queen’s Plate as the second leg of Canada’s Triple Crown.

Menlo Castle was ninth in the Plate Trial, beaten a total of 11 1/2 lengths.

“I think he was just outrun,” said Biamonte. “He had a perfect trip—there’s no good excuse. He just got beat.”

Perfect Tay, the 10th-place finisher under Gerry Olguin, is headed back to the grass, which is the medium over which he won his maiden at Gulfstream Park.

“Gerry said he just didn’t pick up the bit,” said trainer Lorne Richards.