2013 Queen's Plate: Canadian-breds take center (or "centre") stage at Woodbine

Craig Jones/Allsport

Up With the Birds leads the field in today's Queen's Plate at Woodbine.

After a busy day of racing in the U.S. on Saturday, Canada and Woodbine take the spotlight with the biggest race in the country: the $1 million Queen's Plate. A trio of graded stakes races precedes the Queen's Plate: the G2-Dance Smartly (3:02 pm ET), G3-Singspiel (4:18), and G2-Highlander (4:53 pm). The Queen's Plate is the 10th race on the card and is scheduled to load into the gate at 5:38 pm local time. Let's take a quick look at the action.

G2-Dance Smartly - 3up, F&M, 1 1/8 Miles, Turf

I love the morning line favorite in this race, Irish Mission (3/1). Her last two races, even though she lost, were good enough to beat most of her rivals in this field. The filly that beat her in her last start, Solid Appeal, draws the 10-hole but I'm not sure nine furlongs is going to be her best distance while Irish Mission has already displayed an ability to perform well at multiple distances. Irish Mission is a bit of a money burner so I'll have to stay firm on my asking price (nothing lower than 5/2).

G3-Singspiel - 3up, 1 1/2 Miles, Turf

What in the world has happened to Pool Play? It's not like this colt was ever a world-beater but he did win the Stephen Foster in 2011 and the Hawthorne Gold Cup in 2012, with some decent finishes in between. He's completely fallen apart since his Gold Cup victory with a nice run in the G3-Hal's Hope his only saving grace. And it's not that he's losing races, he's showing zero interest in running. And he's 4/1 on he morning line. No, thank you. (Pool Play scratched this morning so...)

I really like the lightly raced Attfield colt in this field, Perfect Timber (10/1), even though he's taking a major step up in class. The pedigree suggests he'll have no issues with the 12 furlongs and there should be enough early speed to give him something to run at in the latter stages. 10/1 on the morning line is a little lower than I'd like on this colt given his inexperience so I'm hoping the price will rise to somewhere around 12/1 to 15/1 by post time.

G2-Highlander - 3up, 6 Furlongs, Turf

A turf sprint of the non-Santa Anita downhill variety. Darts in hand and ready to throw.

Lots of speed in this race so I'll look for something off the pace in the form of the Rosario horse on the rail, Night Officer (4/1). Sorry, Joel. I just gave you the "kiss of turf sprint death".

Queen's Plate - 3yo, 1 1/4 Miles, Polytrack

I think one of the real positive traits for morning line favorite Up With the Birds (2/1) is that heartbreaking second in the Transylvania at Keeneland in April. In a restricted field such as the Queen's Plate, I love to see a horse that's been able to take on non-restrictive company and perform at a high level. Some of his rivals in this race can't say the same thing and I think that suggests a big class edge for the favorite.

I really like His Race to Win (10/1) as a price play despite his less than stellar record overall (8-1-3-0). It took this colt seven tries to finally break his maiden but then he rolls back on three weeks rest to lose by a nose in the Plate Trial back on June 9th. Perhaps he'll bounce off that big last effort but this could be the case of a three-year-old colt beginning to put it all together at just the right time. At 10/1 odds (if I'm fortunate enough to get that price at post time), I'm willing to take a shot.

PP Horse Jockey Trainer ML
1 Midnight Aria J. Campbell N. Gonzalez 15/1
2 Dynamic Sky J. Rosario M. Casse 4/1
3 Jagger M S. Bridgmohan M. Casse 20/1
4 Spring in the Air J. Rosario M. Casse 10/1
5 County Lineman A. Solis M. Frostad 30/1
6 Kaigun J. Stein M. Casse 20/1
7 Up With the Birds E. Da Silva M. Pierce 2/1
8 Rackman J. McAleney N. Nosowenko 50/1
9 Nipissing S. Bahen R. Halden 7/2
10 Pyrite Mountain L. Contreras M. Frostad 6/1
11 His Race to Win J. Velazquez M. Pierce 10/1
12 River Seven T. Kabel N. Gonzalez 20/1
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