06/06/2011 12:45PM

Woodbine: Weighing a Queen's Plate run for Oaks winner

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Michael Burns
Inglorious, w ith Luis Contreras aboard, wins the Woodbine Oaks.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The last three winners of the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks have gone on to run, and run well, in the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate.

Ginger Brew and Milwaukee Appeal won the 2008 and 2009 runnings of the Woodbine Oaks, with Ginger Brew returning to finish second in the Queen’s Plate and Milwaukee Appeal a tight third.

Supporting the trend, Woodbine adjusted its stakes schedule last year and moved the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks up one week, giving the fillies an extra week to get to the Queen’s Plate.

Roan Inish won the Oaks and followed with a third-place finish in the Queen’s Plate.

And now there is Inglorious, who rallied to capture last Sunday’s 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks under Luis Contreras in a style that suggested she would handle the 1 1/4 miles of the $1 million Queen’s Plate.

“I thought the filly ran an awesome race on Sunday,” said trainer Josie Carroll. “She’s a very professional filly. The simple thing is she does what we ask her to do.”

Will that include asking Inglorious to return on June 26 for the $1 million Queen’s Plate?

Carroll and owner Vern Dubinsky, one-half of the Donver Stable along with his wife, Donna, weren’t about to provide a definitive answer on their filly’s behalf in the immediate aftermath of their Woodbine Oaks victory.

“You don’t go there unless you’re 100 percent,” said Carroll. “We have to make sure the filly isn’t too knocked out.”

Dubinsky concurred with Carroll’s comments.

“We’ll look at the Plate,” said Dubinsky. “We’ve got three weeks. We’ll see how it goes.

“She seems to like this Woodbine track, and I think she beat a pretty good group of fillies.”

Dubinsky’s comment about his filly’s fondness for Woodbine was made with tongue in cheek, as it obviously is no secret that Inglorious loves this Polytrack surface, over which she is now perfect in four appearances with her only two losses coming on the dirt at the Fair Grounds.

Her successes all have come in stakes beginning with the six-furlong Fanfreluche and 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie in her only starts last year and continuing with the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette and now the Woodbine Oaks in her two most recent appearances.

If Inglorious is deemed unready for an appearance in the Queen’s Plate then her logical alternative would be the $250,000 Bison City Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies here July 3.

“She’s tired, but she’s good,” said Carroll on Monday morning.

Contreras still thriving

Contreras, a 25-year-old native of Mexico who moved here in 2009 to ride primarily for trainer Steve Asmussen and was restricted to riding for American owners until last fall, got on a roll then and has shown no signs of slowing down this season.

When Chantal Sutherland, who had ridden Inglorious in her first four career starts, elected to stay in California this year, Carroll recruited Contreras and the partnership has prospered.

Contreras entered the current week as the leading rider at the meeting with 54 wins, good for a lead of 12 over Patrick Husbands. He stands second in stakes races won with six, one less than Husbands, and the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks was the most lucrative of his 22 career stakes successes.

Casse has two for Bison City

Trainer Mark Casse sent out Spooky Kitten to finish second and Roxy Gap to run fourth in the Woodbine Oaks, and both now are aiming for the Bison City.

Spooky Kitten had been beaten by 2 3/4 lengths as the fifth-place finisher in the La Lorgnette in her first start for Casse, and the trainer had predicted an improved performance on Sunday.

“I said all along that with a better trip we could give Inglorious a real run for her money,” said Casse. “She did.”

Roxy Gap ended 6 1/4 lengths back in the Oaks under Husbands.

“I was very disappointed,” said Casse. “Patrick was very upset. He just said that nothing went right. He felt she should have been right there.

“In Patrick’s opinion, distance is not a problem whatever.”

Marketing Mix, who has been based in Kentucky with trainer Tom Proctor, was beaten two lengths as the third-place finisher, trying two turns for the first time and making just her fourth career start in the Woodbine Oaks.

Proctor has elected to leave Marketing Mix at Woodbine with an eye toward the Bison City and the $250,000 Wonder Where, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies here July 31.

“She ran fine,” said Proctor, who had watched Marketing Mix move up to press the pace after breaking from the outside post in the field of nine.

“Any time you draw to an outside post, it’s not the best place to be. She could have used some more seasoning, going in, but that’s the way it is.”

Baker reflects on defeat

Bear It’s Time was beaten 7 1/4 lengths as the sixth-place finisher in the Woodbine Oaks after making a successful seasonal debut in the seven-furlong Lady Angela on May 23.

“The filly ran all right, considering she was coming back in 13 days,” said trainer Reade Baker, adding that the Bison City or the Passing Mood should be next on Bear It’s Time’s agenda.

The $125,000 Passing Mood, a seven-furlong turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, will be run here July 23.

Fast finish in Oaks

Moving the Woodbine Oaks up one week and running the race on the same card as the Plate Trial allows for some interesting and immediate comparisons.

On the Beyer Speed Figure front, Check Your Soul’s clocking of 1:51.16 produced an 89, while Inglorious finished in 1:51.77 for an 83.

The pace of the two races was quite different, however, as Bear’s Chill went the first six furlongs of the Plate Trial in 1:13.83 while Spooky Kitten reached that station in 1:15.31.

Doing the math, this means that the final three furlongs of the Plate Trial went in 37.33 seconds and the final three-eighths of the Woodbine Oaks in 36.43.

Check Your Soul made up 3 1/4 lengths through those three furlongs, while Inglorious closed from just more than three lengths back.

◗ All sources handle on Woodbine’s 11-race card was $4,381,892, an increase of 21.5 percent from the $3,605,608 wagered last year. The handle on the Woodbine Oaks itself was $715,636, up from $468,995 from last year for a 53 percent increase. There were nine fillies in the race this year, one more than in 2010.