Germance, beaten just once in her career in France, and Magnificent Song, who closed significant ground to capture her last two in New York, headline a solid field of 11 3-year-old turf fillies in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland Saturday.
The $500,000 race will be run over nine furlongs with all entrants carrying 121 pounds.
Germance, by Silver Hawk, won her only start at two and has hit the wire first in four of five starts this year for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. She won the Prix Penelope (Fr-III) and Montjeu Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary (Fr-I) before finishing second in the classic French Oaks (Fr-I). Germance then won her next race, the Aug. 20 Darley Pric de la Nonette (Fr-III) at Deauville at 2-5 odds.
Out of the Caerleon mare Gaily Tiara, Germance was bred in Kentucky by Edmond Loder and races for Nelson Radwan. Jockey Ioritz Mendizabal flies over from France for the mount.
Germance likes to be close to the lead, which has not been the case the past two races for Magnificent Song. From the powerful Todd Pletcher stable, Magnificent Song won the Lake George Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga by three-quarters of a length after being fourth at the eighth-pole in the 1 1/16-mile race. The daughter of Unbridled's Song
followed that up with a two-length score in the Garden City Breeders; Cup Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont, closing from 11th early.
A winner of five of nine starts, Magnificent Song will be ridden by Garrett Gomez. Owned by L and D Farm, she was bred in Kentucky by ClassicStar.
A possible upsetter in the field is Vacare, who is three-for-three in Chicago for trainer Chris Block and tries grade I company for the first time. She won the Pucker Up Stakes (gr. III) at Arlington last out. By Lear Fan, she is owned by her breeder, Lothenbach Stables. Carlos Marquez Jr. rides.
The field, in post order with jockey assignments:
Take the Ribbon, Espinoza
Magnificent Song, Gomez
Trick's Pic, Martinez
Maxxi Arte, Valenzuela
Quiet Royal, Peslier