By Candice Hare

This year’s edition of the King Edward Stakes brings together a quality mix of local veterans of the Woodbine turf with a few intriguing newcomers. Given a lack over overall early speed in this field, we’ll favor horses who have some semblance of tactical speed. It seems clear, Shakhimat will be on the lead, but where the rest of the field falls into line behind him will dictate who finds himself in the winner’s circle.

 

TOP PICKS

#4 FIRST PREMIO (Pure Prize – Perils of Pauline, by Stravinsky)

Running Style: Stalker
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Owner: Team Valor International

While he began his career in Ireland, it’s been since crossing the Atlantic that First Premio has progressed into a stakes-caliber runner. After a nice second behind multiple stakes winner Mr. Misunderstood, the son of Pure Prize failed in two subsequent outings on the dirt before a return to the turf saw him run the best races of his career thus far. He’s only four years old and making only start number 11 of his career, he’s clearly trending upward. The lack of early pace in here only helps his cause, as well, with him having used a similar pace setup to his advantage en route to victory last out.

 

#7 CARIBOU CLUB (City Zip – Broken Dreams, by Broken Vow)

Running Style: Mid-pack
Trainer: Tom Proctor
Jockey: Gary Boulanger
Owner: Glen Hill Farm

It’s hard to knock winning form and winning is all this guy has done in 2018. While he disappointed in the same Fair Grounds stakes race behind Mr Misunderstood in which First Premio finished second, he’s clearly bounced back after 112 days on the sidelines. His victory at Laurel in the Henry Clark was good, but his win in the local G2 Connaught Cup was even better and third time off the layoff could provide a peak effort. The Proctor barn doesn’t send many to Woodbine, but those he does run rarely run poorly.

 

TOO HARD TO TOSS OUT

#3 TOWER OF TEXAS (Street Sense – Rare Opportunity, by Danzig Connection)

Running Style: Closer
Trainer: Roger Attfield
Jockey: Eurico Rosa Da Silva
Owner: Thomas F. Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth

Third in this very race last year, Tower of Texas is a veteran of the Woodbine turf mile ranks. While he’s a consistent performer, his deep closing style is not always flattered by the pace scenario on offer. I expect the lack of early speed in this field will not make things easy on the son of Street Sense. He’s difficult to completely leave off of tickets because this is surely his goal and he’s proven among these ranks, but it’s more likely than not that he’ll find one or two of these who are more flattered by the race shape too good.

 

#6 CONQUEST PANTHERA (Kitten’s Joy – Lastofthsummerwine, by Sky Mesa)

Running Style: Mid-pack
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Patrick Husbands
Owner: Gary Barber

Now a six-year-old, Conquest Panthera has steadily improved throughout this preparation. Fifth in his first run of the year at Aqueduct and then second at Belmont Park, the son of Kitten’s Joy was last out a close up third in the G2 Connaught Cup in which he was arguably unlucky to not finish second. With other bigger names in the field, he’s likely to be sent off at a higher price than he should based off his form alone. With that in mind, we’ll leave him in the “hard to toss” category.

 

TOSS!!

#1 HOLLYWOOD HIDEAWAY (Zensational – Kalosca, by Kaldoun)

Running Style: Mid-pack
Trainer: Barbara Minshall
Jockey: Luis Contreras
Owner: Bruce Lunsford

He was fifth in this race last year and not beaten all that far, but Hollywood Hideaway has struggled to put two races in a row together since. It was 139 days between last year’s King Edward and his next run, which came at Aqueduct. It was then another 197 days until his next run. In a race which requires horses to be at their peak fitness, I prefer to look towards runners who’ve had more recent racing.

 

#2 RING WEEKEND (Tapit – Free the Magic, by Cryptoclearance)

Running Style: Closer
Trainer: Graham Motion
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Owner: West Point Thoroughbreds Inc.

Ring Weekend has always felt like a horse who was on the cusp of being near the top of his respective division, but never really saw out his potential. That still remains the case for him at seven years old and it’s unlikely anything will change now. A last out third place finish at Delaware against allowance company doesn’t inspire confidence either as he’ll face much tougher in this spot.

 

#8 DELTA PRINCE (Street Cry – Delta Princess, by A.P. Indy)

Running Style: Stalker
Trainer: James Jerkens
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Owner: Stronach Stables

The great Royal Delta’s little brother is more than capable of winning this race based on past form, but given his regal pedigree it’s likely he’s going to take money in this spot. There’s no doubt his last out third behind Heart To Heart in G2 company at Saratoga was more than good enough to win this, but he’s entering off a 299 day layoff. His trainer James Jerkens’ strength isn’t getting horses to peak first off a layoff and given the New York circuit is Jerkens bread and butter, I expect we’ll see the best this guy has to offer later this summer at Saratoga.

 

LONGSHOT PLAY

#5 SHAKHIMAT (Lonhro – Reggae Rose, by Touch Gold)

Running Style: Leader
Trainer: Roger Attfield
Jockey: Rafael Hernandez
Owner: Dan Gale, Roger Attfield, and William Werner

We’ve mentioned several times now that this race is lacking early speed, so why not take a swing on the one horse in this field who typically leads? The now five-year-old son of top Australian stallion Lonhro has been caught up in three fast tempos in his last three races. Admittedly, he packed it in without much of a fight on each of those occasions. Likely, however, to get an uncontested lead, I have a feeling Shakhimat will relax better from the get-go, which will leave him with a better finish late.

 

Additional Queen’s Plate Card Handicapping Guides

Queen’s Plate

Dance Smartly Stakes

Highlander Stakes

For more information on the Queen’s Plate, visit www.QueensPlate.com

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