Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith’s Together, who rallied to finish second in the Oct. 8 First Lady (gr. IT), will remain at Keeneland this week for a run in the Oct. 15 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT).
“She ran very well yesterday and we hope she runs better next week,” said T.J. Comerford, head traveling lad for trainer Aidan O’Brien, in a Keeneland release. “She is going to stay here for the Queen Elizabeth.”
The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup is for 3-year-old fillies run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf whereas the First Lady was for fillies and mares 3-year-old and up going a mile on the grass. Together has faced older rivals in her past three starts after posting runner-up finishes against 3-year-old fillies in group I company in Great Britain and Ireland.
In other news regarding likely Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup starters, trainer Graham Motion said Team Valor International’s Summer Soiree is scheduled to work the morning of Oct. 10 at Fair Hill in Maryland and ship to Keeneland Oct. 11. Other fillies invited to the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup are Winter Memories, Star Billing, Nereid, Marketing Mix, Kathmanblu, and More Than Real. Entries for the race will be taken Oct. 12.
In other First Lady news, trainer Neil Pessin, who saddled Team Block’s Never Retreat for trainer Chris Block while he was at Hawthorne Race Course to send out Giant Oak in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II), said the 6-year-old mare came out of her victory in the race in good shape.
“That was the first grade I win for the Blocks,” Pessin said of the ownership of David, Patricia, and Ryan Block. “Now we’ve got one more to go,” Pessin added, referring to Team Block’s Askbut I Won'ttell, who is at Keeneland preparing for the Oct. 23 Rood & Riddle Dowager.
Pessin said Never Retreat will not go to the Breeders’ Cup.
“She doesn’t want to go a mile and three-eighths (the distance of the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, gr. IT), and she doesn’t want to run against the boys (in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, gr. IT),” Pessin said.
“They both seem fine this morning,” Motion said. “I thought Daveron ran well, but she did not like being down on the inside. But you can’t take anything away from the winner (Never Retreat). She had to break from the outside and she had just run three weeks ago.” Motion said that a Breeders’ Cup run for either mare was unlikely. “They are both in the November (breeding stock) sale here and we have not really planned on it.”