TORONTO, August 20, 2023 – Paramount Prince, under jockey Patrick Husbands, bested filly stablemate Elysian Field, both conditioned by dual hall of fame trainer Mark Casse, in the 164th running of the $1 million King’s Plate, Sunday at Woodbine.
Last time out in the Plate Trial, Husbands put Paramount Prince on the front end and the pair coasted to an impressive five-length score in the 1 1/8-mile Tapeta event on July 23.
On Sunday afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd, it was déjà vu as rider and horse took control from the outset and never looked back en route to another splendid wire-to-wire triumph.
Breaking alertly from post 13 in the 17-horse field, Paramount Prince glided to the front and took his rivals through an opening quarter in :23.28. Silent Miracle followed in second, with 71-1 longshot Velocitor in third and 69-1 Midnight Malibu sitting fourth.
Paramount Prince and Husbands continued to call the shots through a half in :47.41, one length in front of Silent Miracle, while looking comfortable and full of energy as they arrived two lengths on top at three-quarters in 1:11.81.
Straightening for home, the son of Society’s Chairman-Platinum Steel kicked it into another gear and dashed away from his pursuers as Elysian Field, winner of the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser, picked up the chase and tried in vain to collar the leader.
Ahead by 1 ½ lengths at the stretch call, Paramount Prince crossed the line ahead by the same margin. Elysian Field finished 1 ½ lengths in front of Stanley House, while Velocitor was fourth. Kalik, the slight 4-1 choice, was thirteenth.
The final time for the mile and a quarter on the Tapeta was 2:01.93, not far off the record 2:01.48 posted by last year’s Plate winner Moira.
Husbands, who has posted over 3,600 wins over his illustrious career, felt confident coming into the race.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to let the horses talk and don’t get too cocky,” offered Husbands. “I had a clean break, I let him do what he likes to do best, and he just enjoyed the running. I asked him to get over on his right lead and he was just gone.”
“There’s a lot of speed, as I’ve talked about,” said Casse. “He’s so quick from the gate and that’s where he won it. He outbroke them and I knew when he went by us the first time he was travelling well. I was with Gary Barber, and we saw the half in :47 and I said, ‘That’s not too bad.’ And that Elysian Fields, she’s tough, she came up. But it was a dream come true.”
Owned by Michael Langlois and Barber, Paramount Prince sparkled in his debut last November, a nine-length romp over six furlongs on the Tapeta. Third in the Clarendon Stakes next time out, the chestnut was second in his 3-year-old debut in April, then second in the Queenston Stakes in June.
Sent off at 11-1 in the Plate Trial, the gelding came into the Plate looking to become the first horse since Big Red Mike (2010) to notch the Trial-Plate double. Not Bourbon, in 2008, and Eye of the Leopard, in 2009, also turned the double.
On a perfect summer day at Woodbine, Paramount Prince achieved the feat in style.
Bred in Ontario by Ericka Rusnak, Paramount Prince was the first horse bought at auction by Langlois and his wife Charmaine, who made the purchase through then-trainer Jamie Attard. Barber, one of the sport’s most prominent owners, eventually came on board as a co-owner.
For Casse, it was his third Plate crown, all with Barber. He won the 2014 edition with Lexie Lou and 2018 edition with Wonder Gadot. It was also number three for Husbands, who piloted Wando to Canadian Triple Crown glory in 2003 and Lexie Lou to victory nine years ago.
“Unbelievable,” said Husbands. “It’s a great feeling. I give this race to [late horseman and fellow Bajan Ricky Griffith] and all the riders and grooms here from the Caribbean. This race is for Ricky, it’s not for me.”
Paramount Prince returned $18 for the win.
The $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, a 1 3/16-mile race over Fort Erie’s dirt oval on September 12, is the next race in the tri-surface OLG Canadian Triple Crown series, which concludes with the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes at 1 ½ miles over Woodbine’s E.P. Taylor Turf Course on October 1.
Wando, in 2003, was the last horse to sweep the series.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms