Queen's Trust (outside) and Lady Eli were a nose apart at the wire in the 2016 Filly & Mare Turf

Queen's Trust (outside) and Lady Eli were a nose apart at the wire in the 2016 Filly & Mare Turf

Skip Dickstein

Lady Eli's Swan Song in BC Filly & Mare Turf

The time for Lady Eli's farewell from racing has come.

The time for Lady Eli's farewell from racing has come.

The Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T), as salty as the field is, isn't a challenge in comparison to what Lady Eli already went through, but if she were to win on the Breeders' Cup stage one more time before her retirement, what a sendoff it would be.

"Lady Eli is a very special horse to me and my entire staff and her owners for all she's overcome—for her incredible talent that she has and so many places she's brought us together," said trainer Chad Brown, who saw Sheep Pond Partners' Lady Eli make her way back to racing after defeating laminitis in 2015. "So we're very fond of her, obviously. And I think for the sport, I think it's been a great story on many fronts about what horses can overcome. ... And, you know, just really the will to win."

That will to win has been on display in every single one of her 13 starts—before the fight with laminitis, when she went undefeated in her first six starts; and after, when she won four graded stakes and came in second three times; never beaten by more than three-quarters of a length.

"I've never seen one up close with this much heart and determination," Brown said of the 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) winner.

Last year's Filly & Mare Turf was one of those defeats, and it was the most brutal, but she'll soon have a shot at redemption. Only a nose separated Lady Eli and the winner, Cheveley Park Stud's Queen's Trust, who will make the trip back to the U.S. to defend her title.

It's been a winless 2017 so far for Queen's Trust, but the Dansili filly did place in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1) in August. Most recently she finished eighth behind Coolmore's Rhododendron in the Prix de l'Opera Longines (G1) at Chantilly.

Rhododendron, a Galileo filly trained by Aidan O'Brien, captured the second group 1 of her career with a head victory in the Prix de l'Opera, which followed her score a year prior in the Dubai Fillies' Mile (G1) at Newmarket.

The U.S. contingent is not short on last-out winners at the top level, either. Ramona Bass' Avenge, who finished third in last year's Filly & Mare Turf, scored in the Sept. 30 Rodeo Drive (G1T); Allen Stable's War Flag edged fellow Filly & Mare Turf entrants Dacita and Grand Jete in the Oct. 8 Flower Bowl Stakes (G1T); and Empyrean Stables' Zipessa took the Oct. 7 First Lady Stakes (G1T) at Keeneland.

Quarter Farm's Cambodia, although not a grade 1 winner, has been more than impressive at Del Mar in 2017. Since relocating to Southern California for trainer Tom Proctor over the summer, the War Front mare won the Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2T) and John C. Mabee Stakes (G2T).

Entries: Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1T)

Del Mar, Saturday, November 04, 2017, Race 7

  • Grade IT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $2,000,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 2:00 PM (local)
11War Flag (KY)Jose L. Ortiz124Claude R. McGaughey III12/1
22Senga (KY)Stephane Pasquier121Pascal F. Bary20/1
33Birdie Gold (KY)Mike E. Smith121Gary Mandella30/1
44Zipessa (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoe Bravo124Michael Stidham20/1
55Wuheida (GB)William T. Buick121Charles Appleby20/1
66Cambodia (KY)Drayden Van Dyke124Thomas F. Proctor8/1
77Dacita (CHI)Joel Rosario124Chad C. Brown8/1
88Grand Jete (GB)Javier Castellano124Chad C. Brown6/1
99Lady Eli (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateIrad Ortiz, Jr.124Chad C. Brown5/2
1010Queen's Trust (GB)Lanfranco Dettori124Sir Michael R. Stoute12/1
1111Nezwaah (GB)Andrea Atzeni124Roger Varian20/1
1212Avenge (KY)Flavien Prat124Richard E. Mandella8/1
1313Goodyearforroses (IRE)Corey S. Nakatani124Richard Baltas12/1
1414Rhododendron (IRE)Ryan L. Moore121Aidan P. O'Brien8/1
1515Kitten's Roar (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez124Michael J. Maker20/1
1616Responsibleforlove (IRE)Joseph Talamo124Neil D. Drysdale20/1