The 30th renewal of the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup goes as the 9th race on Saturday. It is a nine furlong turf event on the Haggin Course, for 3 year old fillies
It is an important event in its own right, with a purse of $400,000 but it is perfect timing for a last prep for the Breeder’s Cup F&M turf and an opportunity for points.
Stakes races at Keeneland never come up easy and this is no exception. This is a good group, and every one of them is in good form, and more than half the field is coming off a win. But though several of these gals have come close there is only one Grade 1 winner in the race- and a nose and a neck prevented her from winning 2 more.
The class of the field and the one to beat is the French filly, Alterite. She is the leading money winner in the race, and is coming off a nice win in her first start in this country in the Gr1 Garden City. She was First-Time-Lasix and drew off nicely with just a vigorous hand ride. She is owned by Martin Schwartz and trained by Chad Brown and together that duo has campaigned the last two F&M Breeder’s Cup Turf winners – Zagora in 2012 and Stacilita in 2011. Both of those fillies were also rewarded with Eclipse awards in their respective years.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez stays aboard the filly, and her running style should bode well for her. According to her trainer, the filly was a bit high strung when arriving stateside, but hopefully that is behind her. Her form shows an affinity for turf that’s less than firm, but I think her class will prevail. Her 6th place finish in the French Oaks to the Arc runaway winner TREVE, jumps off the page to me. Yes, she got beat 11 lengths, but she still beat half the field and the race was 1/ 5/16ths perhaps not an ideal distance for her.
But it IS Keeneland, It Is Turf and it’s the Ramsey’s world and we are all just living in it.
You have to take a look at the two fillies by Kitten’s Joy in here. Both will run in the red and white Ramsey silks but with two different trainers.
Emotional Kitten is trained by Wesley Ward (33% for the meet) and will be ridden by Channing Hill and is the only one in the field to have a win over the track. She always tries and her numbers continue to improve. She has held her own when competing in 2 GR 1’s on the West coast and has been freshened. She has a big closing kick and would need to work out a trip.
Kitten’s Dumplings is trained by Maker and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux. Also very consistent, she is a multiple graded stakes winner. A winner of 5, including the
Lake George and the Regret, she has also been freshened.
There’s a good chance a “kitten” will be in the mix.
It is interesting that there are 2 fillies in here whose moms have won this race. Say out of (Riskaverse) and Caroline Thomas (Bit Of Whimsy) But as nice as that would be, no daughters of previous winners have been able to do it.
Speaking of the filly, Say, the royally bred miss by Galileo is adding blinkers and running back on seven days rest after making a middle move and then ”faltering” on a very boggy turf course in the First Lady last Saturday. Maybe she disliked the course and the jock just wrapped up on her? I don’t think an exceptional international trainer like Aiden Obrien would wheel her back so quickly, unless he had a good reason. She is the big question mark in here and could be worth the gamble.
Let’s talk about Concise. She finished up well in the Garden City behind Alterite, only getting beat a length and a half. That, after saving ground all the way. She looks to have improved with blinkers, too. If Edgar can find a way to leave the pocket a little sooner she could get all the money.
Caroline Thomas with Rosie aboard could be effective if there is a fast pace. Then, her closing kick could be more effective.
And there does seem to be a good amount of speed in this race.
There is speed on the inside with the
California shipper Sarach. And both Leigh Court
and I’m Already Sexy like to be up
on the front end. too. No doubt, coming from the outside posts, they will want
to get their positions early. And if you are a believer in speed figs, I’m
Already Sexy is the only filly in the race that has a triple digit.
My top pick in the QE2 is the class filly, Alterite. I would give Concise, Say, and Emotional Kitten a look to complete the exotics.
Hopefully you have gotten some insight for the runners in the QE2. My thanks to ThoroFan and the Handicapping Corner and good luck if you are wagering!