The seven-furlong Queenston for Ontario-foaled three-year-olds is a major stop on the road to the $1-million Queen's Plate on June 24.
Trainer Mike Doyle is hopeful Peyton can continue to be a headliner just like his NFL namesake.
“Let’s hope so,” said Doyle, of Peyton, who closed out his two-year-old campaign with a maiden-breaking win at 1 1/16 miles on the Toronto oval ‘Poly’ on November 19, at odds of 20-1. “His last two races have been very good. I don’t know if seven-eighths is his best distance. I think he wants to go further. But this race fits into the program we have set out. Hopefully, we move on to the Plate Trial and then go on from there.”
As for the name?
“Bill mainly keeps the fillies, but this one, he was a colt,” offered Doyle. “He even has one called Eli (named after Eli Manning, Peyton’s brother, the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the New York Giants).”
Peyton started his career in less then stellar fashion, finishing sixth in his first three starts, twice at six furlongs on the ‘Poly’ and once at six furlongs over a ‘good’ E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
After consecutive fourth-place performances, Peyton launched his current winning streak. He earned a career-best 86 Beyer figure for the most recent victory.
Once the colt was gelded prior to his initial win, Peyton, noted Doyle, was a much different horse.
“He’s still a bit of a handful, but he’s come a long way,” said Doyle. “He’s in a very, very good place these days.”
Other Queenston contenders of note include Sam-Son Farm’s Dead On, who finished second, by a neck, in his seasonal debut at the Fair Grounds on March 25, the Ralph Biamonte-trained duo of Menlo Castle and Run in Aruba, as well as Donver Stable’s Beeker Street, who impressed in taking his career bow at Woodbine on April 15, for two-time (Edenwold in 2006; Inglorious in 2011) Plate-winning conditioner Josie Carroll.
The last horse to win the Queenston and the Queen’s Plate was Not Bourbon in 2008.
First-race post on Saturday is 1:05 p.m. The 57th running of the Queenston is slated for race eight on the 10-race programme, which also includes another quarterback-named horse, Namath, who’ll contest the fifth race of the afternoon.
FIELD FOR THE QUEENSTON
Post / Horse / Jockey / Trainer
1 / Menlo Castle / Omar Moreno / Ralph Biamonte
2 / Dead On / Todd Kabel / Malcolm Pierce
3 / Making Amends / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Mark Casse
4 / Danger Bay / Gerry Olguin / Sid Attard
5 / Peyton / Emma-Jayne Wilson / Mike Doyle
6 / Run in Aruba / Omar Moreno / Ralph Biamonte
7 / Fastestwhogetspaid / Jesse Campbell / Brian Williamson
8 / Beeker Street / Patrick Husbands / Josie Carroll