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Sir Dudley Digges Wins Queen's Plate 157 for Ramsey Family

Sir Dudley Digges Wins Queen's PlateKen Ramsey put his money where his mouth was Sunday.

The Kentucky native was so confident in his horse Sir Dudley Digges’s chances to win the $1-million Queen’s Plate that he bet roughly $3,600 on the horse. The three-year-old son of Gio Ponti proved to be money in the bank, surging past Scholar Athlete and 5-to-2 favourite Amis Gizmo in deep stretch to secure the stirring upset win.

And at 15-to-1 odds, Sir Dudley Digges made co-owner Ramsey a huge winner off the track.

“I bet with both hands,” Ramsey said. “He was 18-to-1 when I bet and that knocked him down to 16-to-1.

“The price was right today.”

Sir Dudley Digges won the 1 1/4-mile event on Woodbine’s Tapeta course in 2 minutes 4.09 seconds. The race also had a record handle exceeding $11.8 million.

Ramsey has an even bigger prize in mind: winning the Canadian Triple Crown. He said Sir Dudley Digges will run in the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes on July 26 and, with the horse having also won on grass, he’d be more than willing to run him in the $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes, the 1 1/2-mile turf race in August at Woodbine Racetrack.

“They have a real nice trophy for that [Canadian Triple Crown],” Ramsey said. “We’ll be trying.”

Wando is the last horse to win the Canadian Triple Crown, achieving the feat with Patrick Husbands aboard in 2003. Husbands was seventh in the Plate aboard Gamble’s Ghost but rode three stakes winners in Danish Dynaformer ($150,000 Singspiel), Lexie Lou ($200,000 Dance Smartly Stakes) and Conquest Enforcer ($100,000 Charley Barley Stakes).

All On Red rallied to take third by a neck ahead of Scholar Athlete. The remainder of the 13-horse field in order of finish was Shakhimat; Leavem in Malibu; Gamble’s Ghost; Rocket Plan; Cheburashka; Narrow Escape; Esposito; My Name Is Jim; and Mike.

Sir Dudley Digges paid $33.90, $11.50 and $7.50, while Amis Gizmo returned $4.30 and $3.30. All On Red paid $6.10.

Sir Dudley Digges earned his first career stakes victory and second win overall in nine lifetime starts. He’s finished in the money in eight of his races (three seconds, three thirds) but the $600,000 winner’s share dwarfed the $80,896 he’d amassed prior to Sunday.

“To me, it was a pretty open race, I knew he had a good chance,” jockey Justin Leparoux said following his first career Plate victory. “He left the gate pretty good and we got a good spot in the first turn but they kind of slowed down the pace a lot so I was a little bit worried.

“But on the backside they started to pick it up so the field kind of split a little bit. If we kept going slow on the backside I don’t know if we would’ve been in that good shape [because] we would’ve been in a lot of traffic.”

Leparoux won despite arriving at Woodbine with less than three hours sleep. He raced in 11 events Saturday at Churchill Downs and arrived at home at 1 a.m., then was up at 3:30 a.m. to fly to Toronto.

“I’m going to sleep good tonight,” he said.

Amis Gizmo was attempting to earn trainer Josie Carroll her third Plate win. Jockey Luis Contreras said his horse simply got beat to the finish line.

“He was fighting, he pinned his ears back and kept running,” Contreras said. “But the winner had a little bit more.”

Winning trainer Mike Maker said he felt confident about Sir Dudley Digges’s chances early in the race. “He’s been a lazy horse,” he said. “Going around the turn it didn’t look like Julien moved on him and he was picking up horses so I felt pretty comfortable.”

The win was redemption of sorts for Ramsey after his horse We Miss Artie finished fourth in the 2014 Plate as the 8/5 race favourite.

“He reared up and started waving at the crowd when they opened the starting gate,” Ramsey said. “That’s the year Lexie Lou won.

“Not taking anything away from the filly but we had bad luck that race. (Sunday) was payback time.”

Particularly considering the story behind his horse’s name.

“I am directly descended from King Edward III and Sir Dudley Digges was thrown into the Tower of London for making a remark about the king,” Ramsey said. “He said he didn’t believe in divine right because he grew up with the king and he (King Edward III) put his trousers on just like he did.

“I’ve been over and checked all that out, it’s true. So I think it’s very nice to win the Queen’s Plate with his namesake.”

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