The oldest thoroughbred horse race in Africa, the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate run every January at Kenilworth, and the oldest thoroughbred horse race in North America. the Queen’s Plate run at Woodbine every June or July, have changed their names this week to King’s Plate.
The name of these two Grade 1 events is dependent on who the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom is at the time.
Their respective race names will hence switch to the King’s Plate as King Charles III has now replaced his late mother Queen Elizabeth II as the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.
L’Ormarins sent out the following Press Release:
“South Africa’s premier WFA mile was first run in honour of Queen Victoria after she gifted a silver plate and 500 sovereigns to the South African Turf Club.
The inaugural contest, staged as The Queen’s Plate, was held as a heats event and won by Cape Town owner Mr Chiappini’s horse, Dispatch in April 1861. The event has maintained its royal ties meticulously ever since.
The race was run as the King’s Plate from the reign of Edward VII through to George VI. Reverting to the Queen’s Plate when Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952, it continued to run under that name until 2022.
It is an honour to be associated with an event that carried her name for a remarkable 70 years.
In keeping with the qualities of grace, elegance and above all, tradition that she so embodied, L’Ormarins is proud to continue that legacy under the reign of King Charles III under the new banner of the King’s Plate.
The 2023 L’Ormarins King’s Plate will be held on Saturday, 7th January 2023 at Kenilworth Racecourse, Cape Town.”
Canada’s Queen’s Plate is about a year older than South Africa’s.
The race is these days run over a mile and two furlongs on the tapeta track at Woodbine and is North America’s oldest continuously run race.
It form’s the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.
It’s name has altered between Queen’s Plate and King’s Plate in exactly the same way as South Africa’s equivalent i.e. its name depends on who the monarch is at the time.
In 1859, when Canada West was still a colony of Britain, the then-president of the Toronto Turf Club, Sir Casimir Gzowski, petitioned Queen Victoria to grant a plate for a new race in the territory. Upon royal assent, the first Queen’s Plate was run on June 27, 1860, at the Carleton racetrack in Toronto.
Despite it’s name, the winning owner is presented with a gold cup rather than a plate.
The most famous winner of the King’s Plate is Northern Dancer, who won it in 1964, before going on to become one of the most influential stallions in thoroughbred history.