TORONTO, ON – Larry Cordes homebred Mighty Heart took the field on a high-priced merry-go-round ride as he led from gate to wire in Saturday’s $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes at Woodbine.
The Queen’s Plate is the first jewel of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown. The second leg, the Prince of Wales Stakes, is scheduled for September 29 and is a 1 3/16-mile route on the Fort Erie dirt. The third leg, the Breeders’ Stakes, returns to Woodbine on October 24 for a 1 1/2-mile turf route.
Sent from post 13 at 13/1 odds under Daisuke Fukumoto (riding in his first Queen’s Plate), the one-eyed Mighty Heart went to the lead and safely cleared his inside rivals before entering the clubhouse turn.
Truebelieve, Tecumseh’s War, and Clayton gave closest watch as Mighty Heart led through opening fractions of :23.57, :47.61, and 1:12.70.
The 5/2 favorite Curlin’s Voyage joined the fray with a four-wide move as the field rounded the far turn, but Mighty Heart had plenty of air left in his lungs and kicked clear at the top of the stretch.
Drawing away impressively despite running on the wrong lead until late, Mighty Heart crossed 7 1/2 lengths the best in a final time of 2:01.98 for the 1 1/4-mile fast synthetic route. According to Woodbine, it was the second-fastest Queen’s Plate since 1957.
The maiden Belichick showed no fear as he rallied from well off the pace to finish a clear second by 2 1/4 lengths, giving trainer Josie Carroll the barn exacta.
Clayton took third by a neck and a head over Tecumseh’s War and Curlin’s Voyage, respectively, while Merveilleux necked out Dotted Line for sixth.
Glorious Tribute, Truebelieve, Holyfield, Olliemyboy, F F Rocket, Sweepin Hard, and Halo Again completed the order of finish.
Mighty Heart’s win was the second of his career, having broken his maiden over the local course on July 11 before finishing third in a first-level allowance on August 1. The Dramedy colt now carries a record of 5-2-0-1 with $508,506 earned.
“I was concerned for a minute or two with the quick fractions, but he looked like he was settling and doing it easily,” said Carroll. “We knew he’d go all day and he sure did. You know what, he’s just a very exciting horse who’s come a long way for Mr. Cordes, who’s had a lot of confidence in him from the start.”
Mighty Heart returned $28.50 to win, $13.80 to place, and $8.20 to show. Belichick brought back $20.90 to place and $12.10 to show, while Clayton paid $4.20 to show.