"Winning a Grade 1 at Keeneland -- it doesn't get any better than that," Steve Laymon said Sunday morning, one day after Dayatthespa's front-running, two-length victory in the 29th edition of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.
Laymon, an optometrist from North Carolina, owns Dayatthespa with Jerry Frankel, Ronald Frankel and Pete Bradley's Bradley Thoroughbreds. His wife, Barbara, named the three-year-old New York-bred City Zip filly, who is unbeaten this year in five races, all stakes.
Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Javier Castellano, Dayatthespa scored her first Grade 1 win in the 1 1/8-mile QE II, but that could be the first of many as her future appears to include a trip to Southern California."The (Grade 1) Matriarch will be the plan," Laymon said about the $250,000 race sending distaffers a grassy at Hollywood Park on November 25.
Laymon indicated the Matriarch was next because the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on November 2-3 will come too soon after the QE II.
"This was perfect to give her six weeks into this race," he remarked about the QE II, which Dayatthespa entered off a victory in the Riskaverse at Saratoga on August 31.
Brown, who scored his second fall meet stakes win following Balance the Books in the Grade 3 Bourbon on October 7, also sent out the QE II's fourth-place finisher, Martin Schwartz's Grade 1-winning Samitar. Dayatthespa and Samitar were scheduled to return to Brown's New York base on Sunday morning.
"Hopefully things will go well and we'll be back here in the spring," Laymon added, referring to Dayatthespa possible competing in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at 1 1/16 miles on the Keeneland turf.
Of the other QE II runners, runner-up Centre Court is likely headed to the Grade 2, $175,000 Mrs. Revere going 1 1/16 miles over Churchill Downs's green on November 17.
"She ran well and the race was run the way it looked on paper," trainer Rusty Arnold said of Centre Court, who tracked Dayatthespa most of the race. "The winner is a very good filly. Centre Court is very good this morning and as long as she is doing good she will go in the Mrs. Revere and be done for the year."
Centre Court finished a half-length in front of Better Lucky, who shipped out for a return trip to New York Sunday morning.
"She came back fine," said Josh Flores, assistant to trainer Tom Albertrani. "She'll fly out to New York this morning and we'll come up with a plan, whatever that may be."
Somali Lemonade, who finished fifth in the QE II, came out of the race well, according to trainer Michael Matz. The Mrs. Revere at Churchill might also be in the cards for the Grade 1-winning daughter of Lemon Drop Kid.
"No pace," Matz said, referring to Dayatthespa's front-running tactics.
The sixth-place finish turned in by fellow Grade 1 victress Stephanie's Kitten puzzled trainer Wayne Catalano.
"She's fine. She scoped clean," Catalano explained. "We really don't know what happened. Maybe she didn't like the turf. Don't want to go to the Breeders' Cup off a race like that. We'll let her get over that race."
Glenn Brookfield, assistant to trainer Al Stall Jr., said Treasured Up was fine Sunday morning after her seventh-place finish but there were no plans for her next start.
"She is going to get a little break; have some R and R," Brookfield stated.
Also heading back to New York Sunday morning was Tannery, who finished eighth and last.
"She bled a little bit, but otherwise she's fine," said Sharon Huston, assistant to trainer Alan Goldberg. "I'm not sure what's next for her. The slow pace hurt her yesterday. She needs a faster pace to close in to."