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Cambier Parc, winner of the Del Mar Oaks (G1) Presented by The Jockey Club in her most recent start, tops a field of nine 3-year-old fillies in the 36th running of the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland Racecourse on Saturday, October 12.
Contested at 1 1/8 miles on the Keeneland turf course, the stakes will go as the ninth race with a 5:30 p.m. ET post time on the 10-race program. First post time is 1:05 p.m.
Race 9 at Keeneland on Saturday, October 12 - Post 5:30 PM
|1||Lady Prancealot (IRE)||15-1||Brian Hernandez, Jr.
|2||Kelsey's Cross||15-1||Julien Leparoux
|3||Cambier Parc||8-5||John Velazquez
|4||Princesa Carolina||15-1||Jose Ortiz
|5||Castle Lady (IRE)||7-2||Mickael Barzalona
|6||Cafe Americano||6-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|7||Magnetic Charm (GB)||12-1||Florent Geroux
|9||Regal Glory||6-1||Luis Saez
Cambier Parc is one of three fillies trained by two-time race winner Chad Brown. The others are Paul Pompa Jr.'s Regal Glory and Peter Brant's Café Americano. Brown won the race last year with Rushing Fall and in 2012 with Dayatthespa.
A two-time Grade 3 winner in addition to her Del Mar triumph, Cambier Parc will be ridden by John Velazquez and break from post position three.
Regal Glory is the lone Brown runner to have run here, having finished second in this spring's Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association. Winner of her past three starts, Regal Glory will be ridden by Luis Saez and break from post position nine.
Café Americano has won three of four starts, including a victory in the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington in her most recent start. She will break from post position six and be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Augustin Stable's Varenka, who finished in a dead heat with Regal Glory for the victory in the Lake Placid (G2), will attempt to give trainer Graham Motion a second victory in the race to go with Film Maker's 2003 triumph. Javier Castellano has the mount and will break from post position eight.
Magnetic Charm (GB) might have an edge in Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for one simple reason: She is owned by Her Majesty, The Queen, who 35 years ago was at Keeneland for the first running of the race named in her honor.
The Queen is an astute Thoroughbred breeder and owner who has raced horses since the late 1940s. Her visit here in October 1984 during a private six-day trip to Central Kentucky is one of the most famous chapters in Keeneland history. She watched a mock Thoroughbred sale in the Sales Pavilion, met members of the jockey colony and presented the trophy after Cherry Valley Farm's favored Sintra, a daughter of Drone ridden by Keith Allen for trainer Steve Penrod, won her namesake race.
Her trip also included visiting nearby farms to see prominent stallions.
The Queen and Prince Philip attended the 2007 Kentucky Derby (G1) as guests of Will and Sarah Farish of Lane's End Farm.
The Queen has raced a few horses over the years at Keeneland but never has started a horse in her namesake race, which Lane's End has sponsored since 2014. Her homebred New Assembly (IRE) won an allowance race during the 2001 Spring Meet. Her other Keeneland starters since then, according to Equibase, were homebred Forward Move (IRE), second in an allowance during the 2006 Fall Meet, and homebredMedley (GB), fourth in an allowance during the 2008 Fall Meet.
All three were trained by Christophe Clement.
Magnetic Charm, a daughter of Exceed And Excel (AUS) bred by Godolphin and trained by William Haggas, has won two of eight races. She began her career in England and was second by a neck in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot while carrying 133 pounds. On Sept. 14, the filly made her North American debut at Woodbine and ran second in the Canadian Presented by the Japan Racing Association (G2).
The Woodbine performance earned Magnetic Charm an invitation to the QEII, and she was vanned to Keeneland with stablemate Awesometank (GB), who was 10th in Woodbine's Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1). Awesometank made her next start last Saturday in the First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare (G1).
Haggas' assistant Harry Eustace was at Keeneland for the First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare, in which Awesometank was sixth.
On Sunday, Magnetic Charm and jockey Florent Geroux breezed 5 furlongs on the Keeneland turf in 1:02.40.
Eustace flew back to England earlier this week and will return for the QE II.
Magnetic Charm will break from post seven in the field of nine with Geroux aboard.
"She's very straightforward and tries incredibly hard," Eustace said about the filly. "She ran one of her best races in Canada. She's trained well since at Keeneland. It's a great place for horses to come to, and she's really blossomed since she got there. Fingers crossed, and she can run well and give the Queen something to cheer about."
Another international competitor entered in the QE II Presented by Lane's End is Godolphin's Castle Lady (IRE), who made her first appearance on Keeneland's main track Wednesday morning, galloping once around under Luc Chasserio.
Unraced since finishing fifth in the Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot in England in June, Castle Lady arrived at Keeneland Tuesday morning and trained on Keeneland's all-weather training track.
Trainer Henri-Alex Pantall is scheduled to arrive in Lexington Friday night.
Three Chimneys Farm's homebred Princesa Carolina will seek her first graded stakes victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, and trainer Kenny McPeek says she is ready for the challenge.
In her most recent start, the Tapit filly scored her first stakes victory with an impressive 1 1/2-length triumph in the Fifth Third Insurance Dueling Grounds Oaks on Sept. 8 at Kentucky Downs.
"Her last race was so powerful that I think she deserves a chance at this level," McPeek said. "She is a big, strong filly and I think the farther (the distance) the better. I wish the distance was even longer."
Prior to the Dueling Grounds Oaks, Princesa Carolina (pronounced Caroleena) was runner-up to QE II entrant Café Americano in the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington Park. She has been second or third in three other stakes. Stabled at Keeneland in McPeek's Rice Road division, Princesa Carolina tuned up for the QE II with a strong gallop Sunday on Keeneland's turf course.
"We wanted something long and (relatively) slow," McPeek said. "She didn't need a fast workout. She went at a two-minute (for a mile) clip."
Last year, McPeek was represented in the QE II by Princess Warrior, who finished fourth as the longest shot on the board. In 2017, McPeek nearly earned his first victory in the race when Daddys Lil Darling was beaten a half-length in finishing second.
"It would be big to win," McPeek said. "We would love to check that box. And Princesa Carolina always gives a big effort."
The field for the QE II Presented by Lane's End, with riders from the inside, is: Lady Prancealot (IRE) (Brian Hernandez Jr.), Kelsey's Cross (Julien Leparoux), Cambier Parc (Velazquez), Princesa Carolina (Jose Ortiz), Castle Lady (IRE) (Barzalona), Café Americano (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Magnetic Charm (GB) (Geroux), Varenka (Castellano), Regal Glory (Saez). All starters will carry 121 pounds.
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