Fox Ridge Farm's Riskaverse made Saturday's $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) an exciting one, coming from well behind to get up in the final strides at Keeneland.
Ridden by Mark Guidry, the often troubled homebred daughter of Dynaformer made a big move on the turn and rallied down the center of the track through the stretch to nip Zenda by a nose. Final time for the 1 1/8 mile-event on a yielding turf was 1:49 4/5.
Riskaverse and Megahertz, the slight favorite in the field of nine, both made their moves on the turn. But Megahertz encountered traffic in the stretch and tried to squeeze through on the inside before fading to sixth. Wonder Again, the second choice on a four-race win streak, was in contention on the rail, but did not rally and finished fifth.
Meanwhile, Riskaverse and British-bred Zenda, making her first start in the United States, disposed of leaders Alozaina and Lush Soldier in mid-stretch and battled to the wire.
"I could feel her get herself together (on the turn) when we went with (Megahertz) and she started to pick up the bit from there," Guidry said. "At the sixteenth pole, I said I got her (Zenda). But the farther we went, I thought, 'I don't know.'"
Trainer Patrick Kelly said he and the owners would decide shortly on whether they would take Riskaverse to Arlington Oct. 26 for the Breeders' Cup Fillies and Mare Turf (gr. IT).
"If we don't, I'm grateful for today," said Guidry.
Riskaverse was a troubled second to Wonder Again in her most recent start, the Garden City (gr. IT) at Belmont Sept. 8. She was wide in a second-place finish to Wonder Again in the Aug. 18 Lake Placid (gr. IIT) at Saratoga.
She recorded her second win in six starts in 2002. This was her first Grade I victory. Overall, she has won five of 12. The $310,000 first prize pushed Riskaverse's career earnings to more than $660,000.
Sent off at 7-1, Riskaverse paid $17.20, $7.80 and $5.80. Zenda, trained by John Gosden for Juddmonte Farm, returned $6.80. Lush Soldier, a 43-1 longshot from Canada, paid $7 for the show. The $2 exacta was $160.80.