Trainer Josie Carroll, the only female trainer to win the Queen's Plate, will be gunning for a third victory in the 'Gallop for the Guineas' when she saddles Melnyk Racing Stables' lightly-raced Wilcox on Sunday.
She announced on Wednesday morning that her bay colt will be ridden by Tyler Pizarro.
This year, she is hoping Wilcox, a Eugene Melnyk homebred by Giant's Causeway-Checker Hall, can spring an upset.
"I think it would be a mistake not to try this horse (in the Plate)," said Carroll. "I know he'll go the distance. He's comfortable enough on the surface (Polytrack). We'll see if he's good enough, but he's definitely a horse who will get the trip. And that's nine-tenths of it, getting the mile and one-quarter. If things set up the right way, this horse is going to be running at them. I wouldn't be going if I didn't think I had a live horse."
Melnyk will have two chances to win the Plate this year. His other silk-bearer is Golden Ridge, trained by Mark Casse. Melnyk won the 1998 Plate with Archers Bay, a colt he co-owned with R. Bristow Farm.
153rd QUEEN'S PLATE TO AIR ON CBC
Canada's most famous horse will be centre stage on June 24, at 4:30 p.m. ET, with the 153rd running of the Queen's Plate at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario, North America's longest continuously-run stakes race and the first jewel in Canada's Triple Crown.
Scott Russell hosts the Queen's Plate on CBC, delivering Canadians all of the excitement from the country's most revered horse race. The running of the Queen's Plate will be shown live in High Definition on CBC Television.
Russell will be joined by Brenda Irving and Elliotte Friedman and racing analysts Jim Bannon and Renee Kierans. Canadian jockey legend Sandy Hawley, with 6,450 wins and more than $88 million in purse earnings, will also offer his insight and analysis. Woodbine track announcer Dan Loiselle, the voice of Canadian thoroughbred racing, will once again be in the booth to call the race for the 26th consecutive year.
Highlights of the one and a half hour broadcast include features with Josie Carroll, trainer of Wilcox and the first female trainer to win the Queen's Plate, as well as Justin Stein, rider of one of this year's Queen's Plate favourites, Strait of Dover.
"DRAFT" DRAW TO BE USED FOR PLATE
The "draft" style post position selection process will be utilized for the 153rd running of the Queen's Plate.
The draft draw, first utilized for the 1998 edition of the Plate, allows the owners and trainers of each runner in the race to choose their horse's post position.
The order of selection will be established by a random draw that is identical to the "pill pull" method used to determine Plate post positions before 1998.
After the selection sequence is drawn, owners and trainers will have a five minute consultation period to discuss their choice.
The "connections" will then, in order of the random draw, announce their post position selection.
MARK TEWKSBURY, HONOURARY DRAWMASTER FOR PLATE
Mark Tewksbury, Canada's Chef de Mission for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, is the honourary drawmaster for this year's Queen's Plate Post Position breakfast draw, Thursday at Woodbine.
He will assist in determining the post position draft order and speak briefly of his participation in horse racing at the 9:30 a.m. media conference.
QUEEN'S PLATE DRAW AVAILABLE LIVE ON WEBSITE
A reminder that Thursday's Queen's Plate morning draw from the Woodbine walking ring will be streamed live at http://www.queensplate.com. Further information and event details for Plate day are available there.
Ideal weather conditions are expected for Queen's Plate day in Toronto. The forecast is sunny skies, with a high of 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit).