July 1 (UPI) -- One Bad Boy came from California to win the Queen's Plate in Canada Saturday while 2017 Plate winner Holy Helena came from a 13-months layoff to win the Dance Smartly Stakes on the same card.
Stormy Embrace gets a chance to redeem herself from last year's disappointment in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint by taking a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" at Gulfstream Park for this year's renewal.
The Queen's Plate
One Bad Boy went straight to the lead in Saturday's $1 million (Canadian) Queen's Plate at Woodbine, turned back a persistent Avie's Flatter at mid-stretch and ran on to win Canada's signature race by 3 1/2 lengths. Avie's Flatter held second, 3 1/4 lengths to the good of Tone Broke. The favorite, Sky Wire, was cut off in a traffic jam right out of the gate and never recovered, finishing 11th of 14.
One Bad Boy, a Twirling Candy ridgling, ran 1 1/4 miles on the all-weather track in 2:02.98 with Flavien Prat in the irons for trainer Richard Baltas. One Bad Boy was bred in Ontario but all four previous starts came in California. In his last race, he won the Alcatraz Stakes on the Golden Gate Fields all-weather.
Prat said he had his eye on Avie's Flatter throughout the 10 furlongs. "He was next to me so I knew he was the horse to beat," the rider said. "By the eighth pole, I asked him to re-engage and and he drove away. So from that point I thought I was going to win."
Prat won the Kentucky Derby on Country House thanks to the disqualification of Maximum Security and becomes the first jockey to win both that race and the Queen's Plate since Kent Desormeaux in 1998 with Derby winner Real Quiet and Plate champion Archers Bay. Bill Hartack won both races with Northern Dancer in 1964.
Javier Castellano, who rode Avie's Flatter, said his colt gave it his all. "I was in perfect position in the race, the race was slow and I was right next to him (One Bad Boy) but I couldn't get by," Castellano said.
Filly & Mare Turf
Holy Helena, the 2017 Queen's Plate winner, returned to action for the first time in 13 months in Saturday's $210,000 (Canadian) Grade II Dance Smartly Stakes at Woodbine and the wait proved worthwhile. After tracking the pace under Javier Castellano, the 5-year-old Ghostzapper mare swept past the leaders inside the sixteenth pole and kicked away to a 1 1/4-lengths victory. Starship Jubilee was second, a neck in front of Art of Almost. Holy Helena ran 1 1/4 miles on good turf in 2:02.08.