Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes 2014; Nine Ready To Be Crowned
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes 2014; Nine Ready To Be Crowned: The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup is set for this Saturday, October 11, 2014 at Keeneland Race Course near Lexington, Kentucky. It’s run at the distance of 1 1/8 miles on the grass for three-year-old fillies with a purse of $500,000 and is an important prep race to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
The race was inaugurated on October 11, 1984, in honor of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who attended the Keeneland races during her private visit to Central Kentucky and who presented a trophy on that date. The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup was a Listed race in 1984 and 1985, a Grade III race in 1986 and 1987, and a Grade II race from 1988 through 1990 after which it became a Grade I event. The race record is held by Memories of Silver in 1:45.80 and last year’s winner was Kittens Dumplings for Michael Maker with a time of 1:48.43. The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup is one of the top 3 year-old filly races in the country and this year’s field looks to be saturated with talent.
The Queen Elizabeth II is the 9th race of 10 with a post time of 5:13 EST. The first post of the day to kick of Keeneland is at 1:05 pm.
My top pick is the Bill Mott trained daughter of Smart Strike Crown Queen. Mott has been very patient with her after racing her twice as a two year old last fall where she finished up in 3rd both times, once at Saratoga and once at Belmont. He brought her back this summer and on June 15th she broke her maiden winning at a mile on turf in a maiden special weight at Belmont. Next she won an allowance race at Saratoga at 1 3/16. This half-sister to Royal Delta last out won the (GII) Knob Creek Lake Placid Stakes going 1 1/8 on the inner turf. It was a small field of four and she finished the race in 1:47.91 beating Xcellence (FR) and Minorette. She exits post #8 with Velazquez riding.
Another beauty I like is the Christophe Clement trained daughter of Lemon Drop Kid Sea Queen. She seems to have an affinity for running up front as she did in the (GII) Sands Point at Belmont going 1 1/8 on the turf where she was out finished by Chad Brown and his duo of Ball Dancing and Xcellence. However, on August 16th in the Del Mar Oaks, again at 1 1/8 on the grass, she was able to press the pace in second off the rail, too the lead in midstretch, battled but was outfinished for 4th from post #10. Prior at Belmont going 1 1/4 on the lawn she was well rated on the pace, gamely led from post #11 and was outfinished at the wire by Minorette. Her last win was on May 25th at Belmont in the Blacktype Wonder Again Stakes going 1 1/8 where she stalked the pace set from Party Now from post #2 and pounced. I like her leaving from lucky #7 with Ortiz Jr. in the irons.
Personal Diary, trained by Victoria Oliver, enters Saturday’s race off a victory in the (GI) Del Mar Oaks on August 16th. This pretty City Zip gal won the (GI) Del Mar Oaks on August 16th by 2 3/4 lengths over My Conquistadory and Sea Queen, who finished 5th and was beaten favorite. She settled in the back off the rail, split foes to enter the midstretch full of run and finished up under a light hand-ride. This was her first win since breaking her maiden last August. She has not been off the board in her last 5 races. She was a gamely second in an allowance race at Del Mar where she lacked the room to finish and just missed by a head. Two starts back in the (GIII) Churchill Regret Stakes she was third going 1 1/8 miles but was moved up to second with the DQ of the winner. With Nakatani shipping over to ride her, and he’s good on the lawn, I’m thinking she hits the board from post #5.
It doesn’t look like there is a lot of speed in here. Speed Seeker won her first race gate to wire so we’ll see if they send her out front. Sea Queen has won on the front as well so we’ll see what Clement decides to do with her Saturday. With Crown Queen drawing just outside of Sea Queen, we’ll see if Sea Queen flies and Crown Queen stalks. Personal Diary has been a very game foe splitting horses the last two races and should be very live here to hit the board.
I’ll be playing a $2 Daily Double starting Race #9: 5,7,8/1,6. I’ll also play Sigi’s Daily Double as a back-up. Since he was off last week, he should be ready to fire a big one this weekend. Thanks Sigi for adding your picks and plays. Good luck to everyone this weekend.
In this race my top pick is Sistas Stroll. She’s a girl I appreciate a lot because I love her dam, Berncredit. Sistas Stroll hasn’t the best speed figures but I think the “speed figures” are not the last word in horse racing. My second choice is Ball Dancing. This girl won in her debut in great tyle coming off the pace and looks like she will be very tough to beat in the U.S. Finally, Crown Queen is on a hot streak but in her last race she won in a small 4 horse field. However, she has the class to win this race.
I’m playing Sistas Stroll to Win/Place/Show and a Daily Double starting in Race #9: 1,6/1,11
Keeneland Events & Fashion on Queen Elizabeth Cup Day
2014 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Post Positions & Odds
1 Sistas Stroll 12-1 Van Dyke/T.Proctor
2 Minorette 9-2 J.Rosario/C.Brown
3 Speed Seeker 12-1 J.Graham/J.Scott
4 Aurelia’s Belle 15-1 C.Hill/W.Catalano
5 Personal Diary 7-2 C.Nakatani/V.Oliver
6 Ball Dancing 9-2 J.Bravo/C.Brown
7 Sea Queen 5-1 I.Ortiz Jr./C.Clement
8 Crown Queen 4-1 J.Velazquez/W.Mott
9 Daring Dancer 6-1 A.Garcia/H.Motion