Aheadbyacentury Seeks Ending To 40-Year Curse In Queen’s Plate

The so-called curse of Apollo, under which no horse had won the Kentucky Derby when unraced as a 2-year-old since 1882, was lifted this year by Triple Crown winner Justify.

Canada has its own version of that now extinct jinx, as no horse since Norcliffe in 1976 has parlayed victory in Woodbine’s Coronation Futurity into success in the Queen’s Plate.

And that is a conundrum since the Coronation Futurity, at 1 1/8-miles, is the longest race in the country for 2-year-olds and logically should be a predictor of success in Canada’s most famous race.

John Ross, who won last year’s Coronation Futurity with Aheadbyacentury, is aware of this fact but sees no logical reason for the drought.

“We’re going and try to put an end to that,” said Ross. “He’s good and fit, and he’s ready. Now we just have to keep him happy and healthy.”

Aheadbyacentury, named for the Tragically Hip song which was the encore at that group’s farewell concert in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario, caught the eye of Ross at the local select yearling sale and was purchased for $67,000 in partnership with the newly-formed Jack of Hearts Stable.

And while Aheadbyacentury performed well when making his first two starts in stakes sprints, Ross had always believed that his forte would be two-turn races.

“He was coming from the back, and he’d come on,” said Ross. “You could tell he wanted more ground.”

Aheadbyacentury verified his trainer’s opinion by graduating at 1 1/16-miles and then doubling up in the Coronation Futurity.

“It worked out pretty good for us, to finish up his 2-year-old year like that,” said Ross.

This year, Aheadbyacentury has been on the fringes in three starts here, beginning with a fifth-place finish in the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes and continuing with thirds in both the 1 1/16-mile Marine and 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial, running similar races on both occasions.

“He was coming on well,” said Ross. “Now we’ve just got to up the ante a little bit more; his numbers are just a shade lower than I’d like. But I think that the horse is going to come into the Plate even better. When he worked the other day (June 20) it was just a little maintenance work but he galloped out in 1:14. Luis (Contreras) was on him and all the time he was working he was on the bridle, and he had lots of horse. That’s what we loved about it.”

Aheadbyacentury, who had raced without blinkers for the first time in the Plate Trial, will be reverting to his shaded state for this most important appearance.

“He’s a little more attentive to things, with the blinkers on,” said Ross.

The post Aheadbyacentury Seeks Ending To 40-Year Curse In Queen’s Plate appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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