Shaman Ghost rallies to win Queen's Plate
TORONTO (AP) Brian Lynch finally earned his Queen's Plate redemption.
Shaman Ghost rallied to capture the $1-million race Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack. The 3-year-old chestnut finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Danish Dynaformer.
In 2008, Lynch could only look on in disappointment as Ginger Brew finished second by a head to Not Bourbon, earning trainer Roger Attfield a record-tying eighth Plate victory. On Sunday, Lynch got to celebrate winning the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown for the first time.
''I still wake up thinking of Not Bourbon ... and I look at that photo finish and I still think I won that so it's justice. Well, it's racing,'' Lynch said. ''I've been beat by a nose one day and I walked away from here like I was carrying the weight of the world but now I feel I'm on top of the world.
''It's a prestigious race, it's an old, traditional race, it's a classic distance at a mile and a quarter, it's a big field and to do it for Frank and Mrs. Stronach, that's just fantastic.''
Jockey Patrick Husbands, who rode filly Lexie Lou to victory in last year's race, settled for second aboard Danish Dynaformer.
Rafael Hernandez, in his first Plate mount, led Shaman Ghost from fourth in the straightaway. They took an outside line to move past Billy's Star, Danish Dynaformer and Breaking Lucky en route to a fourth straight victory - all coming after his blinkers were removed - and fourth win in five races this year.
The $600,000 payday more than quadrupled his career earnings to over $749,000.
''He (Danish Dynaformer) made a move too early, I let him pass me,'' Hernandez said. ''I know my horse always got a kick ... he made his kick down the lane and we got them back.''
The Plate win was the third for owner-breeder Stronach Stables, but first since Awesome Again in 1997. Basqueian earned Stronach its first victory in 1994.
''It's exciting . . . maybe the first one is the most exciting one but it's nice to win a race like that,'' Frank Stronach said. ''No matter how good the horse is you always need a little luck.
''Shaman is a holy man and the Holy Ghost so I prayed to heaven (for) a little help from them.''
Shaman Ghost won the 1 1/4-mile race in 2:03.45, with Conquest Boogaloo finishing third. Shaman Ghost paid $8.60, $5 and $3.20 while Danish Dynaformer returned $4.30 and $3. Conquest Boogaloo paid $3.90.