Sir Dudley Digges gives Ramseys, Leparoux first win in Queen’s Plate

July 3rd, 2016

Sir Dudley Digges was sent off at nearly 16-1 while making just his second start at Woodbine in Sunday’s $775,950 Queen’s Plate, but the Gio Ponti colt ran like a favorite to give owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey as well as jockey Julien Leparoux a first win in the Canadian classic.

The dark bay sophomore was content to stalk the pedestrian early pace of :24.19, :49.92 and 1:14.74 set by Shakhimat while settled between rivals in midpack. Esposito and Cheburashka were just to Shakhimat’s outside and were soon joined by 5-2 favorite Amis Gizmo.

Cheburashka began backing up entering the final turn, but Esposito and Amis Gizmo drew even with the leader to run in tandem around the bend. First Esposito and then Shakhimat faded upon hitting the lane, leaving the way clear for Amis Gizmo to take command.

All the while, Sir Dudley Digges was picking off rivals and soon set his sights on Amis Gizmo. Digging deep, the Mike Maker pupil just got up in the shadow of the wire to score the half-length victory in a final time of 2:04.09 for 1 1/4 miles over the Tapeta.

It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to third-placer All On Red, who got his neck in front of Scholar Athlete to take third. Shakhimat followed in fifth while Leavem in Malibu, Gamble’s Ghost, Rocket Plan, Cheburashka, Narrow Escape, Esposito, My Name is Jim and Mike completed the order under the wire.

Sir Dudley Digges paid $33.90 for earning his first stakes win in just his second try. The Ontario-bred colt took seven tries to break his maiden, finally getting the job done on April 22 at Keeneland, and continued his training in Kentucky at the Churchill Training facility.

On June 12, the dark bay sophomore showed up at Woodbine for the Plate Trial Stakes and reputed himself well in his stakes bow when taking down third behind Amis Gizmo and Shakhimat. He turned the tables on both those rivals Sunday to improve his career record to 9-2-3-3 and boost his lifetime earnings to $541,946.

Bred by Bernard and Karen McCormack, Sir Dudley Digges comes from Gio Ponti’s first crop. He passed through the sales ring four times, most recently bringing $130,000 from the Ramseys as an OBS June two-year-old in training last year.

Sir Dudley Digges is out of the Kris S. mare My Pal Lana, a dual stakes winner at Woodbine, and comes from the same female family as champion Queen Empress and French Group 1 heroine Silver Fling.

Sir Dudley Digges photo courtesy of Woodbine Twitter


Kenneth Ramsey, co-owner Sir Dudley Digges, winner: “Especially gratifying because his name was Sir Dudley Digges. I don’t want to brag or anything but I am actually directly descended from King Edward III and Sir Dudley Digges was thrown in the Tower of London for a transgression he made for making a remark about the King. They were doing a parliament House of Lords debate talking about the divine right of kings and he said he didn’t believe in the divine right because he grew up with the king and he put his trousers on just like he did, one leg at a time, and for that they threw him in the Tower of London. I’ve been over and checked all that out. It’s true. So I think it is very nice to win the Queen’s Plate with his namesake.

“This takes a treasured spot in my trophy collection at home. I only have two other things I treasure above this one, trying to win the Kentucky Derby and the other is trying to win a stakes race at Royal Ascot. I’ve had a couple of seconds over there, but I got the third one so that’s good.

“You can quote me. We are going for the Triple Crown. I think this horse can run on grass, Tapeta, dirt, you name it.”

Julien Leparoux, jockey Sir Dudley Digges, winner: “It feels great. It’s an amazing feeling. He ran a big race. I am happy for the horse’s connections.

“He broke good. He put me in a good spot. In the first turn they slowed down so much I was a little bit worried. In the backside they started picking it up. He just grinded and grinded the whole way.

“I rode him at Keeneland on the grass. Last time I couldn’t come and ride him. I knew he had a shot. It was the trip we needed.”

Luis Contreras, jockey Amis Gizmo, second: "I had a perfect trip. I have no excuses at all. I thought the pace went a little more quickly than :49 (:49.92), but I was right there. I tried to relax my horse as much as I could and wait until the quarter-pole to make my move. They just got me at the end. We were second best."

(Did Amis Gizmo come back on when Sir Dudley Digges came up to him?) "He was fighting back. He pinned his ears back and kept running but the winner had a little bit more."

Eurico Rosa da Silva, jockey All On Red, third: "My trip was okay, but my horse was running a little bit too relaxed. Next time we'll put blinkers on him and he'll be a different horse. He handled the distance no problem. A mile and a half will be great for him."