Holy Helena Completes Historic Oaks/Queen's Plate Sweep

07.02.2017 -

Stronach Stables' homebred Holy Helena carried on the storied tradition of fillies in the Queen's Plate Stakes with a commanding score July 2 in the $1 million race at Woodbine. 

Watch the 158th Queen's Plate

The 3-year-old Ghostzapper filly trained by Jimmy Jerkens became the 36th filly to win the race and the third since 2011 to complete the Woodbine Oaks-Queen's Plate double following her one-length score in the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser June 11. 

In the 1 1/4-mile race Sunday, Holy Helena raced inside with a stalking trip in fourth entering the first turn, then dropped back to fifth in the backstretch, but advanced to third and into striking position in the final bend.

As the field exited the turn, the filly surged to the front on the outside and pulled clear. A closing bid from Tiz a Slam got the Tiznow colt second-place honors but never seriously challenged the winner.

State of Honor was the pacesetter, with Megagray not far off on the outside, through fractions of :24.17, :48.67, and 1:13.23 for six furlongs, but Holy Helena—who went off as the 2-1 favorite—burst by and finished off the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.87, 3 1/2 lengths clear.

"I got a dream trip, really," said winning jockey Luis Contreras. "She broke nice—really good—and it gave me a lot of time to see the horses outside of me and what they were trying to do. But she was so nice and relaxed behind those horses. At the three-eighths (pole) I took a look back to see, where is everybody?"

It was the fourth Queen's Plate win for Stronach Stables owner Frank Stronach, following Basqueian (1994), Awesome Again (1997), and Shaman Ghost (2015). The latter is also by Ghostzapper.

“We always thought she was special, now we think she’s even more special,” Stronach said.

Other fillies to complete the Woodbine Oaks-Queen's Plate double are Lexie Lou (2014) by Adena Springs North's Sligo Bay, Inglorious (2011), Dancethruthedawn (2001), Hall of Famer Dance Smartly (1991), and La Lorgnette (1985).

Out of the Holy Bull mare Holy Grace, Holy Helena now has three wins from four starts. Prior to the Woodbine Oaks, she won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on dirt at Belmont Park May 12 by three-quarters of a length. In her debut April 15, she ran second going 6 1/2 furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.

- edited from www.bloodhorse.com
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