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Queens Plate

Canada’s Queen’s Plate is the oldest thoroughbred flat race in Canada. It is a very popular event and boasts royal patronage. There is a very select list of organizations that receive royal attention, and this honor greatly boosts the prestige and popularity of this race.

History of the Queen’s Plate

In the beginning, the Queen’s Plate was a small race. In 1859 the Queen was petitioned by the Toronto Turf Club for a prize for a race to be held in Toronto. Their request was granted. It is not known if Queen Victoria was fond of horse racing, but she did grant their request. An plate was offered as an annual prize, to the value of fifty guineas. In today’s economy that would be approximately $5,000. The race floundered until a plan was hatched to get a member of the royal family to attend the race. In 1881 the Governor General and his wife Princess Louise the daughter of Queen Victoria were invited to Toronto. Their well-timed invitation coincided with the annual Queen’s Plate race, and Her Majesty graciously attended the race with her clever host. This visit established horse racing in Canada as a sport of royalty, and the Queen’s Plate has greatly enjoyed the attention and boost in status that Royal Patronage has given it.

About the Race

The Queen’s Plate is run by 3 year old thoroughbred horses, like many of the biggest races in the US. The race itself is not particularly notable. The Woodbine track is Polytrack, and the race length is 1 ΒΌ miles. The race is held every summer, either June or July at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. The biggest difference about the Queen’s plate is that in order to be eligible to race the horse has to have been foaled in Canada. Even with this restriction, this race is so popular and prestigious that for the safety of the horses and the jockeys, they have restricted the field to a maximum of 17 horses.


The Queen’s Plate is the first race of the Canadian Triple Crown Series. The first and the third race of this series is run at the Woodbine racetrack. All three races of the Canadian Triple Crown are restricted to horses foaled in Canada The resurgence in popularity of these races have greatly boosted the Canadian Thoroughbred Racing, pumping quite a bit of excitement and betting dollars into the sport Betting on the Queen’s plate hit a record high of nearly $7 million dollars wagered in 2010 when the Queen attended the race. This royal visit greatly increased the popularity of this race, and the next year this record was shattered. The 2011 Queen’s Plate boasted nearly $9 million dollars wagered!

More attention is being paid to Canadian thoroughbred racing, especially in the US where thoroughbred racing is on the downswing. These Canadian races are coming back into vogue with Canadian bettors as well, and this has put a great demand on Canadian foaled horses. As many of the biggest races with impressive purses are restricted to Canadian-born horses, more and more US breeders are shipping their mares up to Canadian borders to foal. Even a mediocre horse will sell for quite a sum if it can claim to be foaled in Canada.

The Purse

The Queen’s plate has come far from a 50 guinea prize. The purse for the 2012 Queen’s Plate has been announced at $1,000,000. First place gets an impressive $600,000. Second place wins $200,000, third $100,000, fourth wins $60,000 and fifth wins $30,000.