By Richard Rosenblatt
There’s Uncle Sid. Grandpa Tino. Grandson Joshua. Of course, there’s Kevin Attard, too. He’s the son of Tino and father of Joshua.
Talk about a family affair, eh?
The $1 million Queen’s Plate at Woodbine on Sunday, the first leg of the unique Canadian Triple Crown, features the Attard clan in an overwhelming way – six of the 13 Canada-bred 3-year-olds are trained by an Attard – four by Kevin, one by Uncle Sid, and one by grandpa Tino that is owned by Kevin’s 17-year-old son Joshua.
“I’m excited for my family,” Kevin Attard told Canadian Press this week. “I’m super-excited for my son and my dad but at the end of the day I want to win.”
The 1 ¼-mile race, first run in 1860 and the oldest continuously run horse race in North America, is contested on a Tapeta all-weather surface; the second leg is the 1 3/16-mile Prince of W\\ales Stakes on dirt at Fort Erie on Sept. 14; and the third leg is the Breeders’ Stakes at 1 ½ miles on turf at Woodbine on Oct. 3.
Kevin Attard, looking for his first Queen’s Plate win, will saddle filly Munnyfor Ro (9-2), Hadassah (10-1), Harlan Estate (12-1), and H C Holiday (15-1).
Sid Attard sends out Riptide Rock (6-1) and Tino Attard will saddle grandson Joshua’s Keep Grinding (4-1), the morning line favorite.
For the record, Munnyfor Ro will attempt to become the 38th filly to win the Queen’s Plate (she won the Woodbine Oaks last out). A dozen 3-year-olds have won the Canadian Triple Crown, the most recent being Wando in 2003.
While the Attard family seems to have the edge, do not overlook 5-1 Safe Conduct, shipped up from Saratoga for trainer Phil Serpe with top rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., in the irons. He ran eighth in the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) in his most recent start and is running on Tapeta for the first time.
On Saturday, Del Mar takes the spotlight with five stakes, featuring the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) and the $300,000 Del Mar Handicap (G1), a pair of Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races. At Saratoga, the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) features Malathaat looking to avenge her only loss (in the Coaching Club American Oaks) when she takes on Maracuja.
Saratoga Live, on Fox Sports’ FS2, broadcasts from Saratoga, with TVG also broadcasting races from around the country. FS2 on Saturday has racing from 2-7 p.m. ET, and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. on FS2 and 4-6:30 p.m. on FS1.
In Canada, the Queen’s Plate will be televised by TSN and CTV.
A brief look at the top races:
Trainer Chad Brown’s Technical Analysis, winner of the Lake George (G3) earlier in the meet, is the 6-5 favorite in a field of six, which also includes Spanish Loveaffair looking to end and 0-for-6 losing streak after opening her career with two wins.
Once-beaten Malathaat – second in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) to Maracuja – may be the even-money choice, but four other topnotch fillies are among the seven-horse field. They are Maracuja at 7-2, Clairiere, Crazy Beautiful and Army Wife – all at 6-1. This should be a dandy of a race.
Private Mission in the 9-5 favorite for trainer Bob Baffert, with Forest Caraway the 5-2 second choice for trainer Peter Miller in the field of six. A daughter of Into Mischief, Private Mission has won two of three, most recently an allowance optional claimer at Santa Anita on June 12.
Mo Forza at 8-5 and Smooth Like Strait at 9-5 should make for quite a contest in this field of field of six. Peter Miller-trained Mo Forza makes his first start since Oct. 3, 2020, when he won the City of Hope Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old son of Uncle Mo also won last year’s Del Mar Mile. Smooth Like Strait, comes into the race off a narrow loss to United in the Eddie Read (G2) on July 24 at Del Mar. He won the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in May.
A field of nine lines up for this one, with Going Global the strong 9-5 choice for trainer Phil D’Amato over 5-2 second choice Madone. Winner of five in a row (three Grade 3’s) before running second to Madone in the San Clemente (G2) at Del Mar on July 24, Going Global leaves from post 3 under Flavien Prat.
A field of nine is entered for the 31st edition of highlight race of the summer at Del Mar, with John Shirreffs-trained Express Train the slight 3-1 favorite over Royal Ship from Hall of Famer Richard Mandella’s stable. Hard to throw out any horses in this one, with Dr Post shipping west for Todd Pletcher at 4-1, followed by Tizamagician, Tripoli and Independence Hall all at 5-1.
United headlines a field of 11 coming off neck victory over Smooth Like Strait in the Eddie Read (G2) on July 24 at Del Mar. Trained by Richard Mandella, United is the 2-1 choice leaving from post 4 under Flavien Prat. The 7-year-old Arklow, winner of the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) at Del Mar in 2020, was sixth in the United Nations Handicap (G1) at Monmouth on July 17 in his last start and is the 5-2 second choice. H trained by Brad Cox.
Over the years while working at The Associated Press, Rich Rosenblatt became a familiar name to legions of the horse racing fans and industry insiders with his award-winning articles on horse racing and his stories from the backstretch.
In addition to being an astute observer of sports, Rosenblatt is the co-author of The All-American Chili Cookbook. His work has been seen in just about every publication in the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time Magazine.