Alterite Heads Loaded Lineup for QE II Cup
Martin Schwartz's Alterite, a 1 1/2-length winner of the Garden City Stakes (gr. IT) in her North American debut last month, heads a field of nine 3-year-old fillies entered for the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland Oct. 12.
The 1 1/8-mile turf event will go as the ninth race on Saturday's 10-race card, with an approximate post time of 5:21 p.m. EDT.
Alterite, one of seven grade or group winners in the field, could give trainer Chad Brown consecutive victories in the race. Brown, who won with Dayatthespa in 2012, would join Woody Stephens, John Veitch and Joe Orseno as the only trainers to win the QE II in successive years.
John Velazquez, aboard the Literato filly for the Garden City victory, has the call from post 4.
Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey will send out a tough one-two punch in the QE II, however, with grade II winner Kitten's Dumplings and the grade I-placed Emotional Kitten both exiting the Aug. 17 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT).
Lake George Stakes (gr. IIT) winner Kitten's Dumplings saw a three-race win streak broken when she finished fourth in the Del Mar Oaks; she had victories in the Edgewood and Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs earlier this season for trainer Mike Maker.
Her fellow Kitten's Joy runner, Pennsylvania-bred Emotional Kitten, ran third in the Del Mar Oaks after finishing second in the July 13 American Oaks (gr. IT) at Betfair Hollywood Park for trainer Wesley Ward,a half-length behind Emollient. Earlier this year Emotional Kitten won a 1 1/16-mile allowance on the Keeneland lawn before taking the May 17 Hilltop Stakes on the turf at Pimlico Race Course.
Garrett Gomez will ride Emotional Kitten from the 5 hole, while Kitten's Dumplings will be piloted from post 7 by Julien Leparoux.
Wertheimer and Frere's Sarach also comes in from California, having won the Aug. 16 Sandy Blue Handicap at Del Mar last time out for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. The Arch filly makes her first start outside the golden state in the QE II; she was fourth in the American Oaks after getting her first graded victory in the Honeymoon Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood June 8. Martin Garcia ships in to ride from the rail.
Returning to challenge are two fillies left in the wake of Alterite in the Garden City: Andrew Stone's third-place finisher Concise and Joyce Young's seventh-place finisher Caroline Thomas. The latter, by Giant's Causeway , is out of of 2007 QE II winner Bit of Whimsy, who was trained by Barclay Tagg and owned by Young and Gerald McManis.
Prior to the Garden City, Caroline Thomas was elevated to first place in the Aug. 18 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course. Trained by Tagg, she will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik from post 3.
Concise finished fourth when making her U.S. stakes debut in the Lake Placid for trainer Graham Motion before her good Garden City run. The Lemon Drop Kid filly will be ridden by Edgar Prado from the 6 hole; Motion and Prado combined to win the QE II with Film Maker in 2003.
"She's an improving filly," said Jane Buchanan, racing manager for trainer Graham Motion's stable. "She breezed Saturday at Fair Hill and shipped here after the work."
Concise went an easy five furlongs in 1:04 3/5 over the all-weather training track at the Elkton, Md. oval Oct. 5. She broke her maiden on an all-weather surface in her second start at Kempton Park in England but has not won since, having joined the Motion barn in early summer.Concise made her U.S. debut at Saratoga with a fast-closing second against allowance company.
"There are more opportunities over here for a filly to earn black type," Buchanan said.
No daughter of a QE II winner has come back to win the race, but two have a shot at doing so this year. In addition to Caroline Thomas, Say, out of of 2002 winner Riskaverse, will contest the marquee event.
Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, Say finished sixth at Keeneland in the Oct. 5 First Lady (gr. IT) against older fillies and mares. Trained by Aidan O'Brien, the Galileo filly is following the path of Together, the 2011 QE II winner who was second in the First Lady the week before.
A group III winner in Ireland, Say will be ridden by James Graham from post 2.
Also in the field are a pair of grade III winners. Hit The Board Stables' I'm Already Sexy, a daughter of Ready's Image , was an easy winner of the Sept. 14 Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park last time out for trainer Wayne Catalano. Melynk Racing Stables' Leigh Court, a Grand Slam filly, invades from Woodbine for trainer Josie Carroll having taken the Sept. 21 La Lorgnette Stakes, the Aug. 17 Ontario Colleen Stakes (Can-IIIT), and the July 21 Duchess Stakes all in a row.
$400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT, Race 9, approximate post 5:21 p.m. EDT), 3YO fillies, 1 1/8 miles (turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Sarach (KY), M. Garcia, R E Mandella
2. Say (IRE), J. Graham, A P O'Brien
3. Caroline Thomas (KY), R. Napravnik, B Tagg
4. Alterite (FR), J.R. Velazquez, C C Brown
5. Emotional Kitten (PA), G.K. Gomez, W A Ward
6. Concise (GB), E.S. Prado, H G Motion
7. Kitten's Dumplings (KY), J.R. Leparoux, M J Maker
8. Leigh Court (KY), G. Boulanger, J Carroll
9. I'm Already Sexy (KY), F. Geroux, W M Catalano
All carry 121 pounds.
Blinkers On: Say
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