Holy Helena looking good for Queen’s Plate

TORONTO — Owner/breeder Frank Stronach is a three-time Queen’s Plate champion, but he will chase a career-first in this year’s race.

Holy Helena will carry Stronach Stables’ colours July 2 at Woodbine Racetrack, looking to become just the sixth Woodbine Oaks champion to win Canada’s most prestigious horse race. More importantly, a Plate victory would be Stronach’s first with a filly.

Holy Helena made a strong case to run in the Plate with an impressive win June 11 in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks. But afterwards, Stronach was non-commital about having her go head-to-head against the boys.

“If she comes out all right we might think about it,” he said. “The key for us will be how she behaves over the next three days.

“We’ll take a look.”

Barring injury or illness, Holy Helena will run Sunday — likely as the favourite.

“You know yourself, it’s day to day,” said Mike Doyle, the racing manager for Stronach Stables. ”(As of) today, she is.”

Lexie Lou was the last filly to win the Queen’s Plate, doing so in 2014 to secure trainer Mark Casse his first win in the race. Lexie Lou went on to become Canada’s horse of the year that season.

There’s little question Holy Helena came out the Oaks just fine. On Monday, she breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80 with regular jockey Luis Contreras aboard.

Contreras rode Holy Helena to victory in the Oaks.

“She had a nice little workout,” said Doyle, who’s managing Holy Helena’s preparations for New York-based trainer Jimmy Jerkens. “That’s what Jimmy wanted her to do.

“Luis and I both spoke to Jimmy; he was very pleased. She cooled out really nice, we’re all good.”

Holy Helena established herself as a Plate contender by winning the 1 1/8-mile Oaks in 1:50.18. On the same day, 20/1 longshot Guy Caballero captured the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial in 1:51.32.

Both races were run on Woodbine’s Tapeta course.

The Queen’s Plate, the first jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown, will cover 1 1/4 miles on Woodbine’s Tapeta course. The race would be just the fourth career start for Holy Helena, a daughter of Ghostzapper who has earned $357,000 from two wins and a second-place finish.

Casse, nine times Canada’s top trainer, will take two shots at a second career Plate victory with King and His Court and State of Honor. The horses were second and third, respectively, in the Plate Trial.

King and His Court has four wins from 13 career starts and $426,412 in earnings. Earlier this year, State of Honor qualified for the Kentucky Derby and led the race at the halfway point before fading to a 19th-place finish.

State of Honor has one win in 12 career starts but has finished in the money seven times (second four times, third twice) and earned over $392,000. State of Honor was also the No. 3 Winterbook pick for the Plate at 6-1 behind Tiz a Slam (3-1) and King and His Court (5-1).

“He’s coming into this better than he went into the Plate Trial,” Casse said of State of Honor. ”He missed a little time after the Derby.

“He’s trained into this much better. It’s a question of how far he will go. He’s going to be up on the lead. We’ve found that’s the only way to do it, so we’ll see how far he can go.”

Just Posted

Accused murderer’s story questioned

Jason Klaus spends day being cross-examined by lawyer for co-accused Joshua Frank

Red Deer Royals extend fundraising deadline for St. Joseph fieldhouse project

Fundraising chair says it’s a tough slog raising money in this economy

Red Deer seeks public input on coming changes to sign bylaw

A half-kilometre buffer zone could separate billboards in Red Deer under proposed… Continue reading

Innisfail man injured in home invasion

Police say the injury was non life-threatening

Credentials questioned man at Remembrance Day services

Veterans are crying foul after an alleged faker posed as a former… Continue reading

VIDEO: Red Deerians taste what the city has to offer

Red Deerians sampled some of the finest foods Central Alberta restaurants have… Continue reading

Volunteer with victim services in Red Deer

Learn more at info session on Nov. 27

Updated: Missing Sylvan Lake women found

Women were reported missing earlier this week

Liberals propose billions for affordable housing, including individual benefits

A Liberal government fond of promising help for those working hard to… Continue reading

Alberta Party sees growth in Central Alberta

Greg Clark addressed health care needs addressed in Red Deer

Ponoka council freezes Ponoka Fire Department spending

All discretionary spending frozen until full budget numbers are presented

WATCH: Ponoka’s Festival of Trees sees continued support

Three days of celebration and fundraising held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month