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Undefeated 3YO filly Vacare wins Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Vacare Stays Perfect With QE II Cup Upset

Ignored at odds of nearly 7-1, undefeated Vacare got the first challenge of her career while prevailing in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Keeneland grass course Saturday.

In her first start outside of Chicago, the Robert Lothenbach homebred Vacare stalked the pacesetter Vague in third, emerging with the lead for jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. near the furlong pole. She held off the French-bred Mauralakana by one-half length under strong urging. Another French raider, Quiet Royal, took third, 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner.

The final time was 1:48 2/5 on firm going. The favorites in the 1 1/8-mile event, 2-1 choice French invader Germance and 5-2 second favorite Magnificent Song, were not factors. Germance finished a non-threatening fourth.

Vacare, coming off a four-length win in Arlington Park's Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) for trainer Chris Block Sept. 9, had yet to be challenged in three previous starts, which she took by a combined margin of nearly 14 lengths.

"You saw her throw her head a few times as they went by the stands the first time, which really concerned me," said Block, who won his first grade I race. "But then she settled, and I could tell in the middle of the turn that he (Marquez) had a lot of horse."

Marquez has ridden Vacare, a bay daughter of Lear Fan--Appealing Storm, by Valid Appeal, in all four of her starts. Vacare earned $310,000 to increase her bankroll to $466,000.

She was forwardly placed in the field of 11 as Vague set out on the lead while setting a clip of :24 1/5, :48 2/5 and 1: 13 with Maxxi Arte and Vacare chasing.

Vacare paid $15.60, $7 and $5.20. Mauralakama, in her second U.S. start after being grade I placed in France, returned $6 and $5 while completing a $106.20 exacta with Julien Leparoux aboard. Quiet Royal, ridden by Olivier Peslier in her first U.S. try, was $10 to show.

Then came Germance, Take the Ribbon, Magnificent Song, Vague, Maxxi Arte, Citronnade, Foxysox, and Trick's Pic.

"She ran well," said jockey Ioritz Mendizabal of the favorite Germance. "She had problems adapting to the direction of the track. It was her first time to (race counterclockwise). It was difficult for her."

(Chart, Equibase)