The 154th Queen’s Plate, Canada’s most prestigious horseracing event was held on Sunday at the Woodbine Racetrack, northwest of Toronto. The track was soaked by rainfall late in the afternoon, but the dreary weather didn’t stop the lone speed horse in the race, Midnight Aria, who crossed the finish line at 2:04:72 to win the race.
Midnight Aria was one of the busiest horses this racing season, having already competed in seven races prior to the Queen’s Plate. The speed horse, mounted by jockey Jesse Campbell, started at the Number 1 gate, and remained on the inside track to take a decisive lead early in the race.
Down the backstretch, Midnight Aria was challenged by Up With The Birds, the betting favourite heading into the race, but held out in the end for victory. After crossing the finish line, Campbell alongside trainer Nick Gonzalez was presented with the Queen’s Plate trophy by Governor General David Johnston, who was at the race in place of Queen Elizabeth.
Campbell hoisted the trophy, and told the media onsite that winning the Queen’s Plate was a goal he set out for a long time ago.
“This has been 18 years I’ve been working for this.”
The Queen’s Plate is a $1 million event, of which $600,000 was awarded to Midnight Aria, Campbell, and their racing team for finishing first. Gamblers who bet money on Midnight Aria were rewarded handsomely for the wager, as the odds favoured other horses to win the race. As a result, Midnight Aria’s strong finish helped horseracing fans and betting enthusiasts cash in on the Queen’s Plate.
Gonzalez and the racing team must now decide whether to enter Midnight Aria in the remaining races of the Canadian Triple Crown. The second leg of the event is the Prince of Wales Stakes at the Fort Erie Racetrack, which will occur on July 30. The final race is the Breeders’ Stakes back at Woodbine, but run on turf rather than a track, which is scheduled for August 18.
Campbell insists he is ready to go for the remainder of the Triple Crown, but will respect Gonzalez’s decision one way or the other.