With the Queen’s Plate being inaugurated in the year 1860, it is the oldest thoroughbred horse racing event in North America. Run at the Woodbine Racecourse in Toronto, Canada, the Queen’s Plate is a racing event for horses that are three-years-old and have been foaled in Canada. There is also a maximum of only seventeen contenders allowed in the field for the safety of horses and jockeys. This year’s event was especially memorable, as not only was there nail-biting horse racing action to enjoy but it was attended by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The 2010 Queen’s Plate was hosted on Sunday, 5 July 2010, and the grandstands were filled with approximately forty thousand spectators. It was the 151st Queen’s Plate, and only the forth visit by the Queen. There was also a purse of $1 million (Canadian Dollars) waiting for the winners. It proved to be a day of celebration for jockey Eurico Da Silva and race horse Big Red Mike. Before the race, Da Silva leaned forward in his saddle and told Big Red Mike: “My friend, we’re going to do our best. But the Queen’s here. No pressure”. It seems that his horse understood every single word he spoke, as he did not give up or falter during the race.
Thirteen contenders entered the starting gates of the Queen’s Plate in Canada, with Mobilizer and Roan Irish being sent off as the race favorites. Big Red Mike however was ready for a challenge, and with the patient leadership of Da Silva he hung onto first place even under the pressure of Hotep. Trainer Nicholas Gonzalez was ecstatic with his performance, as he watched Hotep follow Big Red Mike home in second place, and Roan Irish in third. The Queen presented the winning trophy to Da Silva in the winners’ circle, and it was obvious that over and above winning the Queen’s Plate for the second consecutive year, meeting the Queen was just as exciting for this talented jockey. He commented to the press: “She is so nice. She is a very kind person. I am just so happy to meet her.”