● Stronach Stables have won two of the last three editions of the Queen's Plate with Holy Helena (2017) and Shaman Ghost (2015) notching famous scores and the multiple Sovereign Award-winning outfit has two contenders for the 2018 running with the well-regarded Silent Poet and regally-bred maiden Real Dude.
● Real Dude, by Ghostzapper, is out of 2008 Woodbine Oaks winner Ginger Brew who went on to earn honours as Canada's champion three-year-old filly. The strapping Real Dude is the fifth of Ginger Brew's progeny to make it to the races and has the look of one that is worth the wait. "He's so big," said trainer Sid Attard of the 1100 pounds chestnut. "He never worries, this horse. He eats, he trains and he sleeps. I think he'll be a nice horse when he gets a couple more races into him."
● The late blooming Real Dude debuted earlier this year on May 18 when sixth in maiden allowance route and showed definite promise last time out, on June 9, when shifting off the rail to rally for third in another two-turn maiden test. "It was a really good race last time and it was no surprise to us the way he ran. We expected him to run like that," said Attard. "I really think he can go all day long. The farther the better. The owners want to take a shot and I say, why not?"
● Attard was hopeful of having two Stronach Stables contenders for the Plate but Kingarvie and Queenston Stakes winner Silent Sting will not make the Canadian classic after trailing the field throughout in the Plate Trial.
● Should Real Dude win the Plate on Saturday, it would mark the first Plate score by a maiden since Scatter the Gold in 2000.
Owner – Stronach Stables
Numerous champions have raced in Frank Stronach's silks, including 1980 Canadian Horse of the Year Glorious Song (the first Canadian horse to earn $1 million). He has received numerous Sovereigns as Canada's top breeder and owner. He received a special Sovereign in 1998 for Awesome Again, winner of the Queen's Plate in 1997 and the Breeders' Cup Classic in 1998. He's had three Plate winners: Basqueian (1994), Awesome Again and Shaman Ghost (2015). Stronach won Eclipse Awards as top owner from 1998-2000 and top breeder in 2000 and 2004-2007. He was inducted into Canada's Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2000, his Red Bullet won the Preakness and the stable won two Breeders' Cup races, the Juvenile with Macho Uno and the Filly and Mare Turf with Perfect Sting. In 1997, his Touch Gold denied Silver Charm a U.S. Triple Crown by winning the Belmont.
Trainer – Sid Attard
Sid Attard followed his brothers, Tino and the late Joe Attard, to a career at the racetrack after emigrating from Malta in the 1960s. Known for his strong work ethic, the veteran conditioner, who first began training horses at Woodbine in 1977, received the sport's highest honour in 2013 when he was inducted into the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame in recognition of a tremendously successful career. Attard was victorious with his first Woodbine Mile starter Numerous Times, who was named the 2001 Champion Grass Horse that year at the Sovereign Awards. Other award-winning stars he has trained include Ginger Gold (2001 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly), three-time Champion Older Mare One for Rose (2003-2005) and Interpol (2015 Champion Grass Horse).
Jockey – David Moran
David Moran, who began his career in his native Ireland, ventured here to win the 2009 Princess Elizabeth Stakes and the following year's Woodbine Oaks aboard Roan Inish for trainer Carolyn Costigan. Moving here to ride on a full-time basis in 2011, Moran now is a firmly entrenched member of the Woodbine riding colony and lives in nearby Caledon with his wife, Maria, and their eight children. The accomplished rider is a nine-time graded stakes winner including a trio of victories with turf specialist Dimension.