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Vic Zast

From the perspective of being an owner, an industry pioneer in corporate sponsorship, a track president and fan, Vic Zast writes the "Destinations" column for The Blood-Horse. His five-star ratings of international events have shed light on racing in all corners of the globe - from England, Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai to Japan.

Vic is a regular contributor to MSNBC.com, a columnist for the Illinois Racing News and has written on racing for ESPN.com, National Public radio and The Age, Australia's leading daily.

Vic makes his home in Chicago and lives in Saratoga Springs in August.

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Thursday, July 01, 2010


Lookin at Lunacy


(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – July 1, 2010) When the Queen attends the horse races at Royal Ascot, she arrives in a horse-drawn carriage and sits in the Royal Enclosure apart from the madding crowd. The same arrangements await her at Woodbine for the Queen’s Plate on Sunday. Only there in Toronto her procession will be led by a horse guard of Royal Canadian Mounties and a few clubhouse boxes will be outfitted royally to accommodate her seat.

The last time Queen Elizabeth II graced Woodbine was 1997. In that year, Awesome Again, owned by Frank Stronach, won the Queen’s Plate, North America’s oldest thoroughbred race. A homebred from Stronach’s breeding farm Adena Springs named Mobilizer will try to unite the king of car parts with the Monarch of the British Empire in the winner’s circle again. It's not that crazy - even Mother Theresa shook the hand of Stalin once.

Ironically, Mobilizer is from the first crop of the English sire Motivator, the 2005 Epsom Derby winner that stands at The Royal Studs in Sandringham, England. The Royal Studs is owned by the Queen and this presupposes that she’ll be wagering her loonies on a horse owned by a loony. Good luck to her.

Some nice horses such as Dance Smartly (1991), Kennedy Road (1971), Northern Dancer (1964) and Victoria Song (1960) have won the Queen’s Plate. But, in recent years, some real clunkers like Not Bourbon (2008), Mike Fox (2007), Edenwold (2006) and Wild Desert (2005) have had their names called first across the finish line.

Eleven Canadian-foaled colts and two fillies are entered in Sunday’s Queen’s Plate, led by Hotep, a son of A.P.Indy trained by Mark Frostad for SamSon Farms. Hotep finished 11th in the Grade II Louisiana Derby and 10th in the Grade II Risen Star at the Fair Grounds before dropping off the Kentucky Derby trail. But maybe a restricted stakes will suit him better.


Written by Vic Zast

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