Safe Conduct pushes back Riptide Rock to win 162nd Queen’s Plate



TORONTO – A regular in the winner’s circle south of the border, Irad Ortiz Jr. wasted no time making his mark in Canada’s elite thoroughbred racing series.

TORONTO – A regular in the winner’s circle south of the border, Irad Ortiz Jr. wasted no time making his mark in Canada’s elite thoroughbred racing series.

Ortiz claimed victory with Safe Conduct in the 162nd race of the $ 1 million Queen’s Plate on Sunday, winning the first leg of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown.

It was the Queen’s Plate debut for Ortiz, a three-time Eclipse Prize winner as best jockey (2018-20).

He is no stranger to great victories in the United States. Ortiz is an 11-time Breeders’ Cup winner and led Creator to victory in the 2016 Belmont Stakes.

He seized the opportunity on Sunday, riding Safe Conduct to the front of the pack for the home stretch and finishing the 1 1/4 mile Tapeta route from Woodbine in a time of two minutes 2.85 seconds to take home the winner’s award. $ 600,000.

“He was ready,” Ortiz said of the three-year-old. “He just kept fighting the entire stretch. Honestly, he responded really well.

“The coach did a great job – he was ready to run.”

Safe Conduct, the 3-1 favorite, took on several challenges from its competitors, including a late charge from Riptide Rock (11-1) who needed a photo finish to settle.

“I went up front and hit him at the top of the stretch. And when I hit him he responded really well,” Ortiz said after the race. “He kept moving forward. I saw someone flying outside … it was very close, I didn’t know if I had won the race after the wire, but thank goodness I did. . “

HC Holiday (29-1) finished third. Munnyfor Ro, the 2021 Woodbine Oaks winner among the race favorites at 7-2, was fourth.

Safe Conduct’s victory denied a Queen’s Plate title to the Attard family, which has ties to six of the 13 horses that competed in the race.

Kevin Attard, who is still chasing his first Queen’s Plate victory as a coach, had HC Holiday, Munnyfor Ro, Haddassah and Harlan Estate on the pitch.

Fifth-place Keep Grinding, who was set as the 4-1 first seed in the Queen’s Plate draw on Wednesday, is owned by Attard’s son Joshua and is coached by his father, Tino. And Kevin Attard’s uncle, Sid, conditions Riptide Rock.

Safe Conduct is owned by WellSpring Stables and is formed by Philip Serpe.

“He trained like a bear,” said three-year-old’s breeder Mitchell Kursner. “The rule of thumb is that if you’re a good horse on the turf you translate on the Tapeta and we’re just thrilled.

“They did a wonderful job bringing this horse along.”

Ortiz credited his agent with allowing him to take his first round at Queen’s Plate.

“It’s a great feeling to always come here,” he added. “It’s a pleasure to come here. I have a lot of fans. They showed me a little love. I really enjoyed it.”

Fans were back in the stands for the iconic race after being banned from Woodbine Racetrack for the 2020 edition due to COVID-19 protocols.

About 5,000 tickets were sold for Sunday’s race. Over 35,000 spectators have attended the Queen’s Plate in recent years.

While the crowd size was relatively small, the event became festive again. Decorated Olympic swimmers Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez were on hand as race ambassadors, and Canadian musician Jim Cuddy performed live.

The Queen’s Plate, the opening jewel of OLG’s Canadian Triple Crown, is the longest continuous stakes thoroughbred race in North America.

The second stage of the Triple Crown, the $ 400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, will take place on September 14 at the Fort Erie racetrack.

The final stop is the $ 400,000 Breeders’ Stakes on October 3rd at Woodbine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press



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