A quality field of seven 3-year-old fillies will line up to contest the prestigious $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland Saturday. The nine-furlong QE II is unquestionably one of the highlights of Keeneland's autumn meeting.
Ford, Pearson, and Sweesy's Ticker Tape certainly will attract a fair share of attention at the mutuel windows. Trained by California-based Jim Cassidy, Ticker Tape enters off a victory in the Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park. Ticket Tape made a name for herself by defeating a deep, talented field in the American Oaks (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park in July.
The most intriguing filly in the race is Juddmonte Farms' Phantom Wind, a homebred by Storm Cat
out of the champion racemare Ryafan, who won this race in 1997. Ryafan died of hemorrhaging just minutes after giving birth to Phantom Wind in 2001. Phantom Wind, conditioned by John Gosden, took the Oak Tree Stakes (Eng-III) at Goodwood in July, and was most recently third in the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron (Eng-I).
Island Sand came from the claiming ranks to become a grade I winner this season when she won the Acorn (gr. I) at Belmont in June. The daughter of Tabasco Cat, owned by B.A. Man, Inc. and conditioned by Larry Jones, also placed in the Fantasy (gr. II) at Oaklawn, the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill, and the Mother Goose (gr. I). She will be making her turf debut in the QE II.
Bobby Frankel will send out Gary Tanaka's Barancella, second in the Garden City Handicap (gr. IT) in her American debut at Belmont Park.
The field for the Queen Elizabeth, in post position order with riders:
1) Mambo Slew (Tony Farina)
2) River Belle (Rafael Bejarano)
3) Barancella (Edgar Prado)
4) Island Sand (Pat Day)
5) Ticker Tape (Kent Desormeaux)
6) Phantom Wind (Jerry Bailey)
7) Humorous Miss (James Graham)