Maple Leaf Kitten to hove public workout Sunday prepping for Rich Queen's Plate
Maple Leaf Kitten, representing the leading owner and trainer at River Downs, is pointing towards the $1,000,000 Queen's Plate at Woodbine. He will have a public workout at the track on Sunday between the first and second race with Ben Creed in the saddle.
Only a few years ago it was highly unlikely that jockey Ben Creed would be riding in one of the world's most prestigious races. If all goes as planned he'll get that opportunity in the Grade 1 Queen's Plate, aboard Maple Leaf Kitten in the first leg of the Canadian Triple ...Crown. Leading River Downs trainer Joe Woodard conditions the 3-year-old colt for the track's leading owner Billy Hays. Ben Creed celebrated his 28th birthday with a win aboard Maple Leaf Kitten and recently reflected on his strange path into the world of racing.
After getting out of high school he worked in construction as a welder and heavy equipment operator and eventually signed on with UPS. "I had no contact with racing or horses. People were always telling me I was the perfect size to be a jockey, but I never really gave it much of a thought," said the natural lightweight. It was a strange twist of fate that put the native of Louisville in a saddle. "Jockey Mark Guidry bought a condo from my father and we struck up a conversation about a friend of his that was thinking about starting a jockey school. About a year later I 'Googled' it and up came the North American Racing Academy, stated Creed. The friend of Mark Guidry turned out to be Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, who founded the school. "UPS encouraged us to apply for college credits, so I joined N.A.R.A. and told Chris off the bat - I know nothing about horses," recalled Creed.
"Having no experience helped. I was like fresh clay and Chris got to shape me the way he wanted. I didn't have any bad habits and he was a great teacher. He was patient and wasn't sure if I was going to make it, then one day it just clicked." Creed began his riding career at River Downs three years ago and became the first N.A.R.A. graduate to win a riding title and a stakes race. Creed rode the son of Kitten's Joy to victory in a one mile turf race on June 8 at Indiana Downs. "He came from last to first and did it in workmanlike fashion," Creed said. "He should love the longer distance at Woodbine. The farther, the better" Obviously Creed would also love the pay day in a $1,000,000 race. "To be honest, it hasn't really hit me yet." The Queen's Plate is Canada's oldest thoroughbred horse race. It is run at a distance of 1¼ miles for 3-year-old thoroughbred horses foaled in Canada. The race takes place on June 26 at Woodbine Racetrack, Etobicoke (Toronto), Ontario. It is the first race in the Canadian Triple Crown; it is followed by the Prince of Wales Stakes in July and the Breeders' Stakes in August.
Trainer Joe Woodard feels a work over the turf at River Downs, one week away from the Queen’s Plate will set his colt up perfectly for owner Billy Hays. Woodard claimed the Canadian-bred in his second start for $75,000 with an eye toward Canada's top prize. Woodard and Hays have won the last four trainer/owner titles at River Downs. They are hoping the headlines here will read “Local Boys Make Good” a week from Monday. The last trainer to publicly work horses over the River Downs turf course was Wesley Ward. Two of the three horses that worked that day went on to win two graded races at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet in England in their next start.