Cryptocloser sets itself up as favorite for Queen’s Plate
TORONTO (AP) _ Cryptocloser cruised to an impressive 5 3/4-length victory over a field of eight Sunday in the $111,200 Plate Trial Stakes at Woodbine, establishing himself as the likely favorite for the Queen’s Plate.
The Queen’s Plate, to be run June 29 at Woodbine, is Canada’s biggest race for 3-year-olds and is the oldest race in North America, having first been held in 1860.
Cryptocloser, a gelding, was guided by Willie Martinez to a spot in the middle of the pack while speedsters John the Magician and Air Cool set the pace.
But Cryptocloser slowly improved his position down the backstretch before Martinez gave him a nudge and he blew by Air Cool and went on to be time for the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.
Love View, the 3-to-2 favorite, finished third, seven lengths behind Air Cool.
Martinez said he’s already booking his trip to the Queen’s Plate.
``He sure felt strong. The race set up perfect for him. I ran into a dead end street for a second but that didn’t matter as he was much the best today,″ he said. ``I’m looking forward to coming back to ride him into the Plate and have my picture taken with the Queen.″
Queen Elizabeth II has said she will attend for the race for the first time since 1973.
Trainer Mark Frostad, who won the 1996 Queen’s Plate with Victor Cooley, was also impressed by Cryptocloser.
``It was a terrific effort. He ran super race. ... I think he’s the Plate favorite off that,″ he said.
Owned in partnership by Bill Sorokolit Jr. and Earle Mack, Cryptocloser has three wins and career earnings of $129,479 after collecting the winner’s share of $66,720 for the Plate Trial.
He paid $7.90, $4.30 and $2.80.