Spurred by Safe Conduct’s Queen’s Plate victory, Woodbine Racetrack registered the second-highest wagering handle for Queen’s Plate Day in event history.

Safe Conduct-Queen's Plate
Safe Conduct and Irad Ortiz Jr. turn aside Riptide Rock (back) and David Moran to win the 162nd Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Racetrack. The card produced the second-best betting handle in event history. (Image: Michael Burns Photo)

Bettors wagered $16,122,170 on Sunday’s 13-race card at the suburban Toronto, Ontario, Canada track. That ranked second only to 2018’s Queen’s Plate Day handle of $18,005,973. Meanwhile, it surpassed last year’s $14,532,678 handle by 11%.

The last time the Queen’s Plate card ran on a Sunday (2017), it produced an $11 million handle.

Meanwhile, horseplayers bet $3,491,564 just on the Queen’s Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Those wagering on Safe Conduct, who was bet down to the 3/1 favorite at post time, cashed an $8 ticket for a $2 bet.

Woodbine produced strong vertical, horizontal payouts

Never worse than second at any call, Safe Conduct drafted off pace-setter Take a Chance, then took the lead at the mile mark of the 1 ¼-mile race. He barely held off a surging Riptide Rock, who closed from 10th entering the stretch to lose by a head at 11.35/1. That pair, in turn, barely turned aside 29.40/1 H C Holiday, who finished a length behind Safe Conduct.

This trio produced a $1,214.65 payout for the $1 trifecta. A 3-year-old Bodemeister colt, Safe Conduct was one of four winning post-time favorites on Woodbine’s 13-race card. That produced an average $2 win ticket payout of $12.40 for 12 of the 13 races.

This didn’t factor in Sunday’s eighth race, claimed by 70/1 long shot Mambointheforest. That paid $161.70. Woodbine’s successful Late Pick 5 bettors, a sequence encompassing races 9 through 13 and including three stakes events – cashed a $12,795.65 ticket for a $1 bet.

Safe Conduct clocked career-best speed marks

Safe Conduct captured his second victory in five 2021 races and his third overall. The Black-Type Queen’s Plate gave Safe Conduct his first stakes victory in three events. The 99 Equibase Speed Figure tied his previous career-best, which came in a May allowance optional claimer at Belmont Park. He came in off an eighth in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby and a fourth in the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park.

The Phil Serpe-trained, US-based Safe Conduct boosted his career earnings to $603,202 on a 3-1-0, seven-race record. That’s a healthy return on a $45,000 purchase for owners WellSpring Stables, who bought Safe Conduct at the 2018 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.