State of Honor could run in Queen’s Plate

TORONTO — He made the Run for The Roses, and now State of Honor could be set to take a Gallop for the Guineas.

The Ontario-bred and owned horse was heading back to Woodbine Racetrack following his 19-place finish Saturday in the Kentucky Derby. And trainer Mark Casse said Thursday there’s a chance the three-year-old colt could run in the $1-million Queen’s Plate on July 2 at the Toronto oval.

“He’s on his way this afternoon to Woodbine to start thinking about the Queen’s Plate,” Casse said during a conference call. “We’re going to see how he trains and if all goes well, he’ll be in the Queen’s Plate.”

State of Honor was the No. 3 Winterbook pick for the Plate at 6-1. He was behind Casse stablemate King and His Court (5-1) and Tiz a Slam (3-1).

King and His Court won the $119,600 Wando Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday, finishing a length ahead of Tiz a Slam.

State of Honor drew the No. 6 post in the 20-horse Derby field Saturday at Churchill Downs. He gave owners Manfred and Penny Conrad a huge thrill early, leading through the half-mile mark in 46.53 seconds before fading on a sloppy, wet track.

“We wanted him up on the lead and Jose (jockey Jose Lezcano) said he didn’t handle the mud at all and struggled pretty much from the beginning,” Casse said. “So we’re going to throw that one out.”

Last year, Conrad Farms had its first Queen’s Plate starter with Leavem in Malibu, which finished sixth.

State of Honor began racing last season at Woodbine, needing five races to register his first win. After that, he finished second four times, including in the Florida Derby on April 1 and Tampa Bay Derby in March.

Points from those two races helped State of Honor cement a Derby berth. But much of State of Honor’s success has come since Casse moved the horse from Tapeta to dirt.

The Queen’s Plate is run on Woodbine’s Tapeta track.

State of Honor could make his next start in the $125,000 Plate Trial on the undercard of the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 11. The 1 1/8-mile event is also competed over the Woodbine Tapeta as a major prep for the 1 1/4-mile Plate, the first jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown.

If State of Honor doesn’t run in the Plate, he could be a solid bet for the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes — the second Triple Crown event run on dirt — at Fort Erie Racetrack on July 25.

State of Honor has one win in 11 career starts but has finished in the money seven times (second four times, third twice). The horse has amassed $382,548 in earnings.

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