Grade 3 Marine: Rondure stamps himself as top Queen’s Plate contender
TORONTO, July 2, 2022 – Rondure, a three-year-old Ontario-bred son of Oxbow-Carat Weight, put in a head-turning performance in Saturday’s Grade 3 $177,900 Marine Stakes at Woodbine.
After two troubled starts to launch his career in 2021, Rondure looks to be on the road to a date in the starting gate for the 163rd running of the Queen’s Plate.
Ironstone, who went off as the 5-2 choice, galloped out to a sizable lead as the field of eight headed into the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile race for three-year-olds, holding a four-length advantage through an opening quarter in :24.59, as Allegorical and Rondure, held the second and third spots, respectively.
On top by 1 ½ lengths after a half in :49.06, Ironstone, a multiple stakes winning son of Mr Speaker, soon had to contend with Rondure and jockey Rafael Hernandez, the duo looming as a major threat heading into the turn for home.
As the field straightened for the dash to the wire, Rondure began to effortlessly distance himself from his rivals, converting a 2 ½-length advantage at the stretch call into a dominating 5 ½ length score. Duke of Love edged Ironstone for second, while Mannix was fourth.
The final time was 1:43.57.
Trained by Katerina Vassilieva for owner-breeder Borders Racing Stable Ltd., Rondure, now 2-1-0 from five starts, encountered a pair of tough journeys to launch his career last fall. He arrived at the Marine off a second-place finish, a head back of The Minkster, in the Queenston Stakes on June 12.
“I was worried about the short timeline between the Queenston and this race,” said Vassilieva. “There were a few question marks there. But, boy, it didn't seem like a factor at all today. I just told him [Rafael Hernandez] to save as much ground as he could and come from behind. I wasn't sure where exactly he was going to find himself because in the first race, he was more forwardly placed than the last race in the Queenston. So, I just left that up to Rafi. I just wanted him to stay out of trouble and get it as clean of a trip as he could.”
With two wins and a second in his past three starts, the diminutive colt looks like a big-time contender ahead of the Queen’s Plate, slated for August 21 at Woodbine.
“Excited, of course,” offered Vassilieva. “But business as usual when it comes to the horse. I'm just going to do what I always do try to take the best care as I can of the horse, do right by him, and hopefully we get to the Plate and get to have some fun.”
Rondure paid $10.40, $5.50, $3, and combined with Duke of Love ($5.70, $3.50) for a $50.20 exactor. Ironstone ($3) completed a $157 triactor. Mannix rounded out a $1 superfecta that returned $300.05.
Read more on Rondure here: The Worldly View of Rondure