2022 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Contenders
McKulick Headlines the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland
McKulick (Klaravich Stables), winner of the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) this summer and most recently winner of the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational (G3), tops a field of seven 3-year-old fillies entered in the 39th running of the $600,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1) at Keeneland Racecourse on Saturday, October 15.
The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, which is run at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, will go as the ninth race on Saturday's 10-race program with a 5:16 p.m. ET post time. First post is 1 p.m.
2022 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Field & Odds
Race 9 at Keeneland on Saturday, October 15 - Post 5:16 PM
|George Leonard, III
|New Year's Eve
|Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|Paris Peacock (IRE)
McKulick is one of two entrants to be trained by Chad Brown, who has won this race four times including 2021 with Shantisara (IRE). Never worse than third in seven career starts, McKulick will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., who accounted for three stakes victories here last Saturday. She will break from post position six.
Brown's other entrant is Peter Brant's Gina Romantica. Runner-up in the Pebbles (G3) in her most recent start, Gina Romantica won her grass debut in the Riskaverse (L) in the race prior to the Pebbles.
Flavien Prat has the mount on Gina Romantica and will break from post two.
The field for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, with riders from the rail out, is: California Angel (Rafael Bejarano), Gina Romantica (Prat), She's Gone (Luis Saez), New Year's Eve (Tyler Gaffalione), Bellabel (IRE) (Umberto Rispoli), McKulick (GB) (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Paris Peacock (Florent Geroux). All starters will carry 121 pounds.
Paris Peacock (IRE) Arrives For Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup
OCT 12 - Two European-based 3-year-old fillies have won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1). On Saturday, Glen Hill Farm's Paris Peacock (IRE) will attempt to become the third.
Trained by Jessica Harrington, Paris Peacock arrived at Keeneland Tuesday just before 6 a.m. On Wednesday morning, she jogged and cantered on the all-weather training track with Emma Doyle aboard.
"It is the first time she had shipped out of Ireland," said Niall "Bubba" Amond, traveling head lad for Harrington's barn. "She had to go from Dublin to Paris and then to Chicago, where she quarantined before coming here."
Paris Peacock has compiled a record of 9-2-5-1 with victories coming in her past two races at Gowran Park.
"She just kept running into a tough bunch of horses and the one time she was sixth, she could not get any daylight," Amond said. "She broke her maiden in a listed race against older and then won the Group 3 against older."
Paris Peacock is scheduled to go back to the training track Thursday morning. Harrington's daughter Kate, is to arrive Friday and will represent the barn.
Amond said Paris Peacock will remain at Keeneland after the race.
"We are going back home, but she stays," Amond said. "I don't know whose barn she will go to."
The European-based runners to win the QE2 were Together (IRE) in 2011, who also was a Group 3 winner before taking the QE2, and multiple group winner Ryafan in 1997.
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Keeneland Honors Queen Elizabeth II
Keeneland announced today that the track has planted six cherry trees - three on either side of the infield tote board - in tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. A lifelong horsewoman, Queen Elizabeth II attended the races at Keeneland on Oct. 11, 1984, for the inaugural running of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, for which she presented the trophy.
Keeneland will celebrate the 39th running of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), now presented by Dixiana and worth $600,000, on Saturday. The internationally prestigious, invitation only turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies has been won by champions Dayatthespa and Rushing Fall, and by such multiple graded stakes winners as Cambier Parc, Film Maker, Memories of Silver, Riskaverse, Shantisara (IRE) and Vacare.
The tree planting at Keeneland is part of The Queen's Green Canopy initiative to mark The Queen's Platinum Jubilee and to serve as a living legacy to her "extraordinary service to her country and her people." The Queen passed away Sept. 8.
"Queen Elizabeth II was an unmatched horsewoman and a tremendous patron of Thoroughbred racing," Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. "We were fortunate to have welcomed The Queen to Keeneland and Central Kentucky, and her visits to the Bluegrass created a lasting connection. We are honored to pay tribute to her racing legacy."