Holy He­lena races to a heav­enly Queen’s Plate win

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DAN RALPH

TORONTO — Holy He­lena and Luis Con­tr­eras de­liv­ered a first for Frank Stronach on Sun­day.

The Wood­bine Oaks cham­pion came from third to eas­ily win the $1-million Queen’s Plate at Wood­bine Race­track.

The 3½-length vic­tory earned Stronach Sta­bles its fourth win of the open­ing jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown but first with a filly.

“Some­thing like that (win­ning the Queen’s Plate) doesn’t get bor­ing,” Stronach said.

“That’s great, es­pe­cially if you have a filly that wins the Plate.”

How­ever Stronach won’t make a Triple Crown run with his prized filly.

Stronach said it’s very un­likely Holy He­lena will race in the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes on July 25 at Fort Erie Race­track.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “Nor­mally I don’t like to run fil­lies or any horse that quick af­ter a big race ... so she gets a lit­tle break now.”

And Stronach doesn’t an­tic­i­pate chang­ing his mind should Holy He­lena come out of the Plate bet­ter than an­tic­i­pated.

“You don’t want to go that of­ten to the well,” he said.

So if Con­tr­eras wants to pur­sue a Triple Crown, he’ll again have to do it with mul­ti­ple horses.

In 2011, the Mexican-born jockey made Canadian thor­ough­bred rac­ing his­tory by win­ning all three Triple Crown races aboard two horses.

Con­tr­eras won his first Queen’s Plate with filly In­glo­ri­ous in 2011.

But when In­glo­ri­ous’s han­dlers opted against go­ing to Fort Erie, Con­tr­eras moved aboard Pen­der

Har­bour and led him to vic­tory in both the $500,000 Prince of Wales and $500,000 Breed­ers’ Stakes at Wood­bine.

“I did it once,” Con­tr­eras said. “I hope, I keep my fin­gers crossed to do it again.”

Con­tr­eras had Holy He­lena, the 2-1 favourite, sit­ting com­fort­ably in third be­hind Me­gagray and State of Honor with a quar­ter-mile re­main­ing.

The daugh­ter of Ghostzap­per eas­ily took the lead down the stretch and fin­ished the 1 ¼-mile race on Wood­bine’s tapeta course in 2:02.87.

“Even at the 3/8ths (pole) I had so much horse,” Con­tr­eras said. “I looked back, inside, out­side and I didn’t see any­body com­ing.

“When I put her out­side and asked her to go, she just con­tin­ued. I had plenty of horse left at the end ... she’s some­thing spe­cial.”

Tiz a Slam fin­ished sec­ond, leav­ing trainer Roger At­tfield tied with Harry Gid­dings, Jr., for the most ca­reer Plate wins (eight).

In­flex­i­bil­ity, an­other filly, was third af­ter fin­ish­ing third be­hind Holy He­lena and Myth­i­cal Mis­sion in the $500,000 Wood­bine Oaks on June 11.

Jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva was pleased with Tiz a Slam’s fin­ish.

“It was a good, qual­ity race, a very com­pet­i­tive race and I fin­ished sec­ond,” he said.

“I passed a lot of horses but I didn’t pass that one (Holy He­lena).”

MARK BLINCH, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Luis Con­tr­eras and Holy He­lena win the 158th run­ning of the Queen’s Plate at Wood­bine in Toronto on Sun­day.

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