TORONTO, ON – Trainer Richard Baltas’ faith in One Bad Boy was rewarded when the California-based runner fought hard to take the field gate to wire while running sans blinkers in Saturday’s $1,000,000 Queen’s Plate Stakes for 3-year-old Canadian-breds at Woodbine.

Belmont Park Picks

Breaking smoothly from post 5 under fellow California Flavien Prat at 7/2 odds, One Bad Boy was quick to assert himself up front setting the pace. Behind him, Avie’s Flatter was able to clear over enough from the 14 post to engage Moon Swings for second, but neither applied early pressure to the leader. Left to his own devices, One Bad Boy strolled comfortably through fractions of :24.42, :49.52, 1:14.18, and 1:37.83 for the opening mile.

As the field neared the far turn, Avie’s Flatter began ranging up slightly along the pacesetter’s outside, and through the far turn, he continued to inch closer and closer. At the top of the stretch, the two were noses apart, with Avie’s Flatter initially looking like he would come out on top. One Bad Boy refused to quit, however, as he fought back gamely along the inside.

After repelling his foe’s failed bid for the front, One Bad Boy continued to clear away impressively. Proving himself to be much the best that day, One Bad Boy crossed with a 3 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 2:02.98 for the 1 1/4-mile event over the fast synthetic surface.

“(Avie’s Flatter) was next to me, so I knew he was the horse to beat,” said Prat, who became just the third jockey in history to win both the Queen’s Plate and the Kentucky Derby (G1) in the same year. “By the 1/8 pole, I asked him to reengage and he drove away, so from that point, I thought I was going to win.”

Prat poses with the Queen’s Plate trophy (Credit: Michael Burns Photo)

Despite being unable to capitalize on his attempt to take the lead, Avie’s Flatter was much the best of the rest, finishing 3 1/4 lengths clear of Tone Broke to hold second under Javier Castellano.

“Second-best today,” Castellano said. “Not much to say. Kept tracking the winner right there all the way on the lead. He never stopped and he never came back to me. I was in perfect position in the race, the race was slow, and I was right next to him, but I couldn’t get by.”

Tone Broke lived up to his auspicious name when he broke inward sharply out of the gate, slamming into the 2/1 favorite Skywire and squeezing that foe back to the rear. Tone Broke recovered well enough to race close to the pace before finishing third, but after the race, the stewards conducted an inquiry into the start. The stewards ultimately decided to take no action to the original order of finish, keeping the Steve Asmussen trainee in third.

He’s a Macho Man rallied from well off the pace to take fourth and complete the superfecta by 1 1/4 lengths over the filly Desert Ride, who most recently was the upset winner of the Woodbine Oaks three weeks prior. Lucas n’ Lori took sixth by a 1/2-length over Federal Law, while Pay for Peace was 3/4 of a length behind them.

Rising Star took ninth over Krachenwagen, while the ill-fated Skywire never truly recovered from his unfortunate start and finished a disappointing 11th. Suitedconnected necked out Moon Swings for 12th, while Jammin Still completed the order of finish in the full field of 14.

One Bad Boy’s victory was his first in a stakes event and came in his second career start over a synthetic surface after previously finished second in an off-turf edition of the Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on May 19. The 3-year-old ridgling son of Twirling Candy, purchased for $65,000 as a yearling, has now earned $523,880 to complement a record of 5-2-2-1 for co-owners Sayjay Racing, Greg Hall, and Brooke Hubbard.

“It was awesome, very awesome,” Hall said. “We were a little worried about his ability to run the mile and 1/4, but you saw that. He started pulling away, so we’re very excited about that.”

One Bad Boy returned $9.70 to win, $4.80 to place, and $4 to show. Avie’s Flatter brought back $4.30 to place and $2.80 to show, while Tone Broke paid $8.50 to show.