Ericka Rusnak was able to view an historic edition of Canada’s most famous horse race through a most unique lens on August 20.

As the breeder of Paramount Prince, Rusnak was focused on every move the handsome son of Society’s Chairman-Platinum made before, during and after the 164th running of The King’s Plate, North America’s longest continually run stakes race, this edition taking place on a hot, humid Sunday afternoon at a sold-out Woodbine Racetrack.

Aside from her talents as a Thoroughbred breeder and owner, Rusnak is also an accomplished photographer, her work twice recognized as a finalist for the Sovereign Award (Canada’s year-end horse racing honors) in the photo category.

Wearing a light blue dress and matching fascinator, while touting a 20-plus pound backpack with her camera equipment, the ensemble also included a bright orange vest with ‘MEDIA’ emblazoned on the front.

A fitting look, considering her owner’s silks have orange as a primary color.

But on this day, it would be much more than a fashion statement for Rusnak.

Paramount Prince, with champion jockey Patrick Husbands in the irons, bested filly stablemate Elysian Field, both conditioned by dual hall of fame trainer Mark Casse, to win the first King’s Plate since 1951 (it was known as The Queen’s Plate from 1952–2022, in keeping with the race being named after the ruling British monarch).

Last time out in the Plate Trial, Husbands put Paramount Prince on the front end and the pair won by five lengths in the 1 1/8-mile Tapeta event on July 23.

In The King’s Plate, Husbands orchestrated the same blueprint to perfection.

Breaking alertly from post 13 in the 17-horse field, Paramount Prince glided to the front and took his rivals through an opening quarter in :23.28. Silent Miracle followed in second, with 71-1 longshot Velocitor in third and 69-1 Midnight Malibu sitting fourth.

Paramount Prince and Husbands were still gliding along unfettered through a half in :47.41, one length in front of Silent Miracle.

Straightening for home, the chestnut sprinted away from his rivals as Elysian Field, winner of the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser, tried to track him down to no avail.

Ahead by 1 ½ lengths at the stretch call, Paramount Prince crossed the line ahead by the same margin. Elysian Field finished 1 ½ lengths in front of Stanley House, while Velocitor was fourth. Kalik, the slight 4-1 choice, was thirteenth.

The final time for the mile and a quarter on the Tapeta was 2:01.93, not far off the record 2:01.48 posted by last year’s Plate winner Moira.

“It was the most incredible day of my life,” said Rusnak, who continues to receive an ever-growing list of congratulatory messages on her Facebook page. “It really is a dream come true.”

Husbands, who has posted over 3,600 wins over his illustrious career, had felt confident heading into the Plate.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to let the horses talk and don’t get too cocky,” offered Husbands. “I had a clean break, I let him do what he likes to do best, and he just enjoyed the running. I asked him to get over on his right lead and he was just gone.”

“There’s a lot of speed, as I’ve talked about,” said Casse. “He’s so quick from the gate and that’s where he won it. He outbroke them and I knew when he went by us the first time he was travelling well. I was with Gary Barber, and we saw the half in :47 and I said, ‘That’s not too bad.’ And that Elysian Fields, she’s tough, she came up. But it was a dream come true.”

Toronto On.August 20, 2023. Jockey Patrick Husbands guides Paramount Prince past the grandstand first time by on the way to capturing the 164th running of the $1,000,000 dollar King’s Plate for owner Gary Barber and trainer Mike Langlois and trainer Mark Casse. ©Woodbine/ Michael Burns Photo

Owned by Michael Langlois and Barber, Paramount Prince sparkled in his debut last November, a nine-length romp over six furlongs on the Tapeta. Third in the Clarendon Stakes next time out, the chestnut was second in his 3-year-old debut in April, then second in the Queenston Stakes in June.

Sent off at 11-1 in the Plate Trial, the gelding came into the Plate looking to become the first horse since Big Red Mike (2010) to notch the Trial-Plate double. Not Bourbon, in 2008, and Eye of the Leopard, in 2009, also turned the double.

Paramount Prince now adds his name to that list.

He was the first horse bought at auction by Langlois and his wife Charmaine, who made the purchase through the horse’s then-trainer Jamie Attard. Barber, one of the sport’s most prominent owners, eventually came on board as a co-owner.

For Casse, it was his third Plate crown, all with Barber. He won the 2014 edition with Lexie Lou and 2018 edition with Wonder Gadot. It was also number three for Husbands, who piloted Wando to Canadian Triple Crown glory in 2003 and Lexie Lou to victory nine years ago.

Paramount Prince returned $18 for the win.

Rusnak is still trying to wrap her head around what she watched transpire through her camera lens.

She’ll have plenty of fond reminders to look back on over the years to come.

“It’s so hard to put into words. To see a horse that you bred win Canada’s biggest race is almost impossible to describe. I know I’ll never forget it.”