Bit of Whimsy wins theQueen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. I) Saturday at Keeneland.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Bit of Whimsy wins theQueen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. I) Saturday at Keeneland.
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Bit of Whimsy Catches Dreaming of Anna in QE II

Bit of Whimsy won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) Oct. 13.

For much of the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. I) (VIDEO), there seemed to be no denying classy champion Dreaming of Anna, who was seeking her fourth consecutive stakes victory.

But after a ground-saving trip from Javier Castellano, Bit of Whimsy made a late rally along the rail, angled three-wide and caught the 2006 Juvenile Fillies Eclipse Award winner in the final 16th to win by 2 1/4 lengths on Keeneland’s Haggin turf course Oct. 13.

Bred in Kentucky by Bonner Young and Joyce Rowand, Bit of Whimsy had won her only graded stakes in the June 2 Sands Point Stakes (gr. III). The following month the 3-year-old Distorted Humor  filly was beaten soundly by Dreaming of Anna at Colonial Downs. She was second in her most recent start, the Sept. 8 Garden City Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont.

This time, trainer Barclay Tagg instructed Castellano to lay off the pace even more, knowing that Dreaming of Anna would have the lead to herself. After a speedy three-quarters in 1:11.24, Castellano revved up Bit of Whimsy for a late run from seventh position. She was third at the top of the lane but gaining ground.

“The first thing (Tagg) said was he wanted me to take hold of her today," Castellano said. "We handicapped the race together and saw a lot of speed in the race. We wanted to take her back a little and let her finish."

Going off at odds of almost 7-1, Joyce Young and Gerald McManis’ Bit of Whimsy paid $15.80 to win. The exacta (1-7) with 2-1 favorite Dreaming of Anna was worth $65.60. Coquerelle, who was shipping in from France and stalked the pace the whole way, was good enough to get third, a head in front of Costume.

The final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:48.73.

Now with three wins in six career starts, Bit of Whimsy, out of El Prado mare Kristi B, has earned more than $400,000.

"We were tempted to run her one more before this, but we thought we'd better have a fresh horse rather than an experienced one," Taggs said. "I had a good jockey on her. I thought if he could take her back a little bit, she'd make a big run, and it worked out perfectly."

Sharp Susan, who went off as the fourth choice, finished sixth, just behind Classic Neel.

Dreaming of Anna jockey Garrett Gomez was not disappointed with the way the multiple graded stakes winner ran. "She ran well," he said after riding her for the first time. "She got pressured the whole way and never got a breather. She had to work to even hold second. She ran a very good race."

(Chart, Equibase)