ETOBICOKE, Ontario &ndash; Elite Alex, based at Delaware Park with trainer Tim Ritchey, has joined the ranks of candidates for the June 26 Queen&rsquo;s Plate.\r\nWith the New York-based Queen&rsquo;splatekitten and Bowman&rsquo;s Causeway and the Kentucky-based Maple Leaf Kitten also having the $1 million Queen&rsquo;s Plate on their agendas, the number of American-based runners in the 158th running of Canada&rsquo;s most famous horse race could reach its highest level to date.\r\nElite Alex, trained by Tim Ritchey, was on the Kentucky Derby trail earlier this year, but then finished a distant ninth in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 16.\r\nReturning at Delaware Park on May 11 in a first-level optional claimer that was meant to be a confidence-building experience, Elite Alex tracked a slow pace and was unable to threaten a runaway winner.\r\nOn Wednesday, Elite Alex breezed five furlongs in 57 seconds at Delaware Park.\r\n&ldquo;He breezed very well,&rdquo; Ritchey said. &ldquo;Hopefully, that&rsquo;s the first of a couple of preps that will get him to the Queen&rsquo;s Plate.\r\n&ldquo;I&rsquo;d love to run there. We&rsquo;ll know more after the next breeze or two. I want to have him 100 percent and doing well. I want to have the best shot we can.&rdquo;\r\nRitchey, not wanting to put the jockey before the horse, has not yet lined up a rider for Elite Alex if the Queen&rsquo;s Plate bid does materialize.\r\n&ldquo;He&rsquo;s not a hard horse to ride,&rdquo; Ritchey said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just the matter of getting someone on him who can give him a decent ride.&rdquo;\r\nVictoria Park comes up strong\r\nThe $150,000 Victoria Park Stakes, an open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds that will be run here Sunday, generally has not featured a particularly strong lineup.\r\nThis year&rsquo;s renewal of the Victoria Park had attracted just nine nominees, and although some decent potential invaders were on the list, the race did not figure to draw more than a handful of contestants.\r\nBut when entries were taken Thursday, the Victoria Park had lured nine entrants, including three supplements headed by the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes runner-up Twinspired..\r\nWith original U.S.-based nominees Newsdad, Burj Alzain, and Code of Conduct also answering the bell, the Victoria Park suddenly became a deep and contentious event.\r\nLocally based Seawatch, Pender Harbour, and Top Prospect also supplemented to the Victoria Park at a cost of $3,000.\r\nAnd while Seawatch and Pender Harbour will be hoping to use the Victoria Park as a last-ditch stepping-stone to the Queen&rsquo;s Plate, Top Prospect currently has no designs on the showpiece for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.\r\n&ldquo;When I saw the nine nominees, I thought I&rsquo;d supplement him and then I put him in there, just to run him,&rdquo; said Ralph Biamonte, who trains Top Prospect for the C E C Farm of Eugene George. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been trying to get him in every race you could think of, since the meet started.&rdquo;\r\nTop Prospect, who had passed through his first allowance condition as a 2-year-old, finished sixth when making his sophomore bow in the six-furlong Woodstock Stakes here April 16.\r\nTwo weeks later, Top Prospect tried two turns for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Wando and finished third, beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Check Your Soul.\r\nCheck Your Soul returned to romp in last Sunday&rsquo;s Plate Trial, encouraging Biamonte to consider the Victoria Park.\r\nWhen the overnight came out Thursday, however, Biamonte&rsquo;s enthusiasm had waned somewhat.\r\n&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not really too happy to be running him in here,&rdquo; Biamonte said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know if he&rsquo;s that caliber of horse.&rdquo;\r\nReport Card Time euthanized\r\nBiamonte and George had Queen&rsquo;s Plate aspirations for Report Card Time, but those hopes came to a tragic end during a workout here early last month.\r\n&ldquo;He suffered a condylar fracture, and we had to put him down,&rdquo; Biamonte said.\r\nReport Card Time had started five times as a 2-year-old, concluding with a first-level allowance score at one mile and 70 yards in his first try around two turns.\r\nThe gelding also had performed respectably in two stakes tries, finishing fourth in the seven-furlong Simcoe for graduates of the local yearling sale and sixth in the Cup and Saucer for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles of turf.\r\nFatal Bullet looking for victory\r\nTrainer Reade Baker, who entered Moonshine Mullin in the Victoria Park off a close third in a first-level allowance race at 1 1/16 miles here May 8, also was surprised by the race&rsquo;s final makeup.\r\n&quot;It&rsquo;s a little tougher than I thought,&rdquo; Baker said dryly.\r\nBaker, however, has other interesting prospects on Sunday&rsquo;s program as he will send out Fatal Bullet, Canada&rsquo;s Horse of the Year and champion sprinter of 2009, and the comebacking Bear Tough Guy in separate allowance events.\r\nFatal Bullet is winless in nine starts since capturing the Grade 3 Phoenix at Keeneland in fall 2009 and is coming off a fifth-place finish as the odds-on choice in an open allowance race at 5 1/2 furlongs at Presque Isle Downs on May 18.\r\n&ldquo;He got his hocks caught up in the starting gate there, and that basically eliminated him,&rdquo; said Baker, who trains Fatal Bullet for the Bear Stable of Danny Dion.\r\n&ldquo;I think I&rsquo;ve found a nice place for him here; I&rsquo;m expecting him to run well.&rdquo;\r\nBear&rsquo;s Tough Guy, also owned by Dion, was undefeated in two starts, including the Grade 3 Grey Stakes as a 2-year-old here in 2009.\r\nOn Sunday, Bear Tough Guy is slated to return under second-level allowance terms in a 1 1/16-mile turf race that also has attracted Miami Deco, last year&rsquo;s Breeders&rsquo; Stakes winner.\r\nThe field also includes restricted stakes winner Officeinthevalley and stakes-placed Mobilizer and Cognashene.\r\n&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a thrill, getting Bear Tough Guy back in business,&rdquo; Baker said. &ldquo;He hurt himself as a 2-year-old and reinjured himself last year and was off another year.\r\n&ldquo;He&rsquo;s going great right now.&rdquo;\r\nSand Cove works for Steady Growth\r\nSand Cove, last year&rsquo;s champion older male in Canada, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 on the training track turf course here Friday under regular rider Richard Dos Ramos and is heading for next Sunday&rsquo;s Steady Growth Stakes.\r\n&ldquo;I worked him on turf, just for a change of scenery,&rdquo; said Roger Attfield, who trains the 6-year-old Sand Cove for owner Ralph Johnson.\r\n&ldquo;He always goes well on turf. He works well anywhere.&rdquo;\r\nThe Steady Growth is a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up, and Sand Cove won last year&rsquo;s running in impressive fashion.