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Queen's Plate Barbecue

At Woodbine, Queen's Plate week is traditionally kicked off by the annual barbecue. Held on the Monday before the Plate, media, officials, connections, and their families usually gather in the large walking ring to enjoy a delicious outdoor lunch, mostly cooked over open grills and served at one end of the ring, while Queen's Plate contenders are paraded at the other end of the ring. This is a great opportunity to see the horses posing with their proud connections, and unlike most events, it is a rare opportunity for the horses' grooms to receive recognition as well when the horse is brought out.

The post position draw for the Queen's Plate will be held on Thursday morning. Post time for the Plate will be 4:37pm Eastern on Sunday June 24nd and the race will be televised in Canada on TSN from 4:00 to 5:00pm and simulcast to many locations throughout the United States. Free past performances will available from Daily Racing Form by Thursday evening.

At this year's Queen's Plate Barbecue, five of the expected nine starters were brought out to be paraded in the walking ring. Below are photos of the ones that were there along with a list of all the horses expected to enter.

Alezzandro was the first to be brought out before the crowd, escorted by his groom Junior Alleyne. Trainer Kevin Attard will have two in the Plate, Alezzandro and 2006 champion 2-year-old Leonnatus Anteas, both owned by Knob Hill Stable. Attard said of the son of High Yield, "He's a very talented horse, lacking in fitness and racing experience, compared to the horses he's racing against. I think Alezzandro is ahead of Leonnatus. If Leonnatus is in contention in the home stretch, anything can happen because he has the will and the drive to do it. He's a class horse." Jockey Todd Kabel will be in the irons on Sunday.

Include Us was brought out by groom Al Burley, and is trained by 7-time Queen's Plate winner Roger Attfield. Although he is still a maiden, Attfield is still confident. After a close second in a maiden at Keeneland , Attfield said, "He ran a winning race but he just came up a little bit short. But I know the 1 1/4 is a distance he'll like and he'll get. He's a very laid-back horse. He's lazy in his morning gallops. But when he races he can come with a nice run in the stretch." Regular rider Robert Landry gets the call.

Jiggs Coz is one of two greys expected to start on Sunday, and was brought out by groom Tony Wright. The Plate Trial winner is expected to go off as the favorite, having won 3 races in a row. Trainer Sid Attard said, "It feels good to have the favorite. He ran a big race in the Trial. I don't think (jockey David Clark) asked him too much. I think he can improve off that effort. Actually I think this horse improves 5 lengths every time he runs. He can either go to the lead or come off of it. He's got as good a temperament as I've ever seen. He can go the distance no problem." Regular rider Clark will be aboard the son of Cozzene.

Marchfield was escorted to the walking ring by groom Ivan Forde. The son of A.P. Indy out of Pico Teneriffe was a runner-up in both the Plate Trial and the Coronation Futurity. Trainer Mark Casse said of the Eugene Melnyk homebred, "When you have a horse like him with his breeding you let him develop. The first time he worked he showed he could really run." Asked about the Plate Trial, he added, "I was happy with our horse. He wasn't exhausted, but he didn't quicken as much as I thought he might. The farther they go the better. He's like the Energizer Bunny, just keeps going and going and going." Patrick Husbands gets the call in the Queen's Plate.

Mike Fox was the last horse to come out, and was escorted by groom Aline Allain. After a seventh place finish in the Queenston, the son of Giant's Causeway came back to win an optional claimer against older horses by 1 1/4 lengths on May 23 for his final Plate prep. Trainer Ian Black said, "We were just looking for him to move forward. We wanted him to sit fairly close to the pace and it worked out. He's a very impressive, big, strong horse. He's definitely trained well leading up to the race." Emma-Jayne Wilson, who has ridden Mike Fox in his last 2 starts, will again be in the irons on Sunday.



PHOTO: Jiggs Coz, the likely favorite for the 2007 Queen's Plate

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