The first leg of the Triple Crown is this weekend – the Canadian Triple Crown, that is. The Queen’s Plate Stakes takes center stage at Woodbine this Saturday featuring 3-year-olds racing in one of the most historic races on the continent. While not as well-known as the American Triple Crown races, winning the Queen’s Plate is a major accomplishment.
Read on for 10 fun facts about this year’s edition.
1. The Queen’s Plate is restricted to horses bred in Canada, which means those born in any other country are not allowed to run.
2. The race is run on an all-weather surface at 1 ¼ miles, though it has been run at five other distances ranging from one mile heats to two miles.
4. The Queen’s Plate is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Just 12 Queen’s Plate winners have gone on to sweep the series by adding wins in the Prince of Wales Stakes on dirt and the Breeders’ Stakes on turf. Five of those horses did so before 1959, when the Canadian Triple Crown was officially established.
5. The race is the oldest and longest continually run race in North America. First run in 1860, this is the 160th edition without missing a year.
6. There are a million Canadian dollars up for grabs in the race, making it worth around US$750,000.
7. American trainer and Canadian Hall of Famer Mark Casse has won the Queen’s Plate twice, each time with a filly: 2014 with Lexie Lou and 2018 with Wonder Gadot. This year he has two contenders in Skywire and Federal Law.
8. The race is named for its royal association. It was inaugurated with royal blessing in 1860 and Queen Elizabeth II has attended on four occasions: 1959, 1973, 1997, and 2010.
9. The Queen’s Plate has been won by both a female jockey and a female trainer. Trainer Josie Carroll won in 2006 (Edenwold) and 2011 (Inglorious) and jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson won in 2007 aboard Mike Fox. Carroll has two contenders in this year’s race: Avie’s Flatter and He’s a Macho Man.
10. Last year fans bet a record CA$14,625,756 on Queen’s Plate day.