● He's had all of one race in his career heading into an historic $1 million event. The stakes are big, the experience is little, but the son of Gio Ponti is set to give his all in Sunday's Plate.
● Nolan Ramsey, assistant trainer to Mike Maker, will see a trio of his grandparents' horses settle into the starting gate for the 159th edition of the country's most iconic horse race. While Ken and Sarah Ramsey's other starters, Boyhood Dream and Marriage Counselor, have more experience, Pawnbroker looks ready for a longshot run at Plate glory.
● "I think as of right now, Boyhood Dream is a better horse than he is, but I think in the long run, Pawnbroker's going to turn out to be the nicer horse," offered Ramsey. "We got him in as a two-year-old and had a few little issues with him. So we backed off on him for the winter and unfortunately we got a later start with him."
● His lone start resulted in a fourth-place finish at six furlongs over the Woodbine Tapeta on May 26. It's not the colt's ideal distance, but Ramsey wasn't disappointed with the outcome.
● "He's a horse that wants to run all day," noted Ramsey. "I had to run him at going three-quarters, which definitely isn't his game. But he ran a good fourth, never got tired and never backed up. So I'm excited to stretch him out."
● Ramsey is equally enthused about what lies ahead for the chestnut, who will have the services of U.S.-based jockey Joel Rosario in the irons for the Plate.
● "Asking him to break his maiden in the Queen's Plate might be asking a little too much of him, but I think he's definitely a classy horse who has a bright future."
● Just don't expect Ramsey to be taken aback if Pawnbroker does broker a winning path come this Sunday. "Can he win? I wouldn't be shocked, but it's a tall order to ask a horse to break a maiden in a million-dollar race. I'm excited for his future. He's full of talent, so I expect a good run from him as well."
● His sire, the aforementioned Gio Ponti, won several graded stakes events over a 29-race career that yielded 12 wins, 10 seconds and a third, for over $6.1 million in purse earnings. Pawnbroker's dam, Sweetdetermination, won four of 28 starts and earned a little over $240,000, racing exclusively at Woodbine.
Owner – Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey
(See Boyhood Dream bio)
Trainer – Michael Maker
(See Boyhood Dream & Marriage Counselor bios)
Jockey – Joel Rosario
It didn't take long for Rosario to become one of the top riders in California after arriving from the Dominican Republic in 2006. Rosario was the leading rider in the Dominican Republic four times before deciding to move to California. He came to the U.S. in 2006 and rode in Northern California for most of 2007. Rosario moved to Southern California late in 2007 and by early 2008 was riding stakes horses for major trainers. He moved into the upper echelon in 2009 when he finished fifth in earnings with $13 million. He won his third consecutive Del Mar and Hollywood Park titles and his first Santa Anita crown in 2011. In 2012, Rosario moved to the East Coast and established himself as one of the top riders. Rosario started his 2013 season with a huge win in the $10-million Dubai World Cup aboard Team Valor's Animal Kingdom. Shortly after, he picked up a mount for the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Shug McGaughy's trainee Orb. He piloted the Malibu Moon colt to a dominant win in the first jewel of the Triple Crown to earn his first win in the race. Rosario had another solid year in 2014, winning the Belmont Stakes on Tonalist. He also had the regular mount on 2014 champion older mare Close Hatches, winning three Grade 1 races on her that year. He ended his year with a win in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on Bobby's Kitten for Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Chad Brown. In 2015, he won the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Wavell Avenue and added his fifth career Breeders' Cup win by guiding Tourist to victory in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Mile. Rosario recorded his sixth career score in the Breeders' Cup World Championships in 2017 when he won the Turf Sprint with Stormy Liberal.