|I've been getting pretty deep into the ponies this year and especially following along at Woodbine being from Toronto, so I'll throw my two cents in...
Posted: 6/28/2018 2:14:29 AM
This Queen's Plate basically seems to have 3 main players and a bunch of other cannon fodder:
Wonder Gadot 3/1
Dixie Moon 4/1
All three last raced June 9th at Woodbine, Telekinesis in the 125k Plate Trial Stakes which he went on to win as a 2/5 fave.
The other two battled it out h2h in the 500k Woodbine Oaks with Wonder Gadot going off as a 1/5 fave (not a typo lol), and Dixie Moon at 3/1. They were neck and neck throughout the stretch and Dixie Moon ended up taking it by a nose.
On the surface the races look almost identical, both a mile and an 1/8th and almost identical finishing times with Dixie Moon winning the Oaks in 1:50.37 and Telekinesis winning the Trial in 1:50.40. But watching the races you'll see 3 very different trips. Telekinesis breaks to the front immediately and runs the rail around both turns in full control of the race the entire way. In the other race, although not front-running or on the inside Dixie Moon has a pretty clean trip, however as you'll see Wonder Gadot has a slow break and while trying to establish herself back in the race gets squeezed out and has to ease up to get out of traffic. Then she gets moved 3-wide around the first turn to get back up with the leaders and runs 3-wide again around the 2nd turn to the outside of Dixie Moon.
The other thing that stands out to me regarding appearances being deceiving are the final fractions. Wonder Gadot and Dixie Moon battle it out to a photo while Telekinesis comes under a bit of pressure but eventually pulls away at the end. However, despite being as comfortable as possible, running the exact race he wanted, and appearing to pull away, Telekinesis came home the final 1/8th in 12.79 still under a pretty aggressive whip to hold off the challenge. Meanwhile the other two ran the final 1/8th in 12.37, 4 tenths faster after almost identical fractions throughout the race.
I'm also going to bring in two more points of reference...in an earlier race this year Telekinesis was a close 2nd to My Boy Jack in the grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland. With MBJ finishing 5th at the Kentucky Derby this appears like a very impressive result but as you'll see it's another race where Telekinesis has basically a perfect ride along the inside the whole way. He exits the bend with the lead but doesn't seem to have the finishing kick as he gets caught in the stretch.
Wonder Gadot's 2nd to last race was the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks where she finished 2nd by a half to the very impressive Monomoy Girl who's 7-1-0 in 8 career starts. Her only loss being by a neck when jumping up to a grade 2 event in the final start of her 2 year old season. And to follow that up in 2018 she's won the Rachel Alexandra (grade 2), Ashland (grade 1), Kentucky Oaks (grade 1), and the Acorn Stakes (grade 1). In this race Gadot broke much better and had a better first half of the race but going into the final turn appears to get bumped and pushed wider, running about 2 or 3 wider than Monomoy Girl around the turn. Yet again though she finds herself right there at the finish coming up just a bit short to an exceptional horse that had a much cleaner trip. Final time in that race at a mile and 1/8th was 1:49.13, much faster than the Woodbine Oaks.
It might be easy to say that Wonder Gadot's a hard luck horse that just always seems second best but when I take everything into consideration I see a horse that has run further (in some cases maybe 40-50 feet), and dealt with some traffic/bumping/adversity, but is still there at the end against very good horses that didn't encounter any of that.
It should be noted that the Queen's Plate is an extra furlong at a mile and 1/4 which I see working in Gadot's favour, and the same jockey as she had in the Kentucky Oaks, John Velasquez, is being flown in to ride her. In a 16 horse field with a million dollar purse on the line I don't see any of her main rivals having the perfect trip they're accustomed to and we already know Gadot has shown she can fight through it...the others, who knows? 3/1 isn't the sexiest odds in the world but I'm just hoping she's still not the fave on race day.
Personally I just think Wonder Gadot is the most horse in this race and I see her finally getting her due at the end!
Straight Win 3/1 (hopefully)!!