With Horse Racing’s “Super Bowl”, the 2013 Breeders Cup, just around the corner and all the serious prep races in the books, the next three weeks are three of the quietest weeks in the sport. I did manage to find the 2013 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, a Grade: 1 event at Keeneland Racetrack on Saturday that features Kitten’s Dumplings and Alterite, and made it our Horse Racing Race of the Week.
The Queen Elizabeth is run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf for 3 year old fillies only.
Being run for only the 29th time, the Queen Elizabeth’s list of past winners shows a pretty good amount of quality fillies including Perfect Arc (1995), Memories of Silver, who owns the stakes record with a blazing final time of 1:45.2, (1996), Perfect Sting (1999), Film Maker (2003) and last years winner Adayatthespa.
Keeneland – Saturday, October 12, 2013
Race 9 – 5:21 PM
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (Grade I)
For Fillies, Three Years Old
One And One Eighth Miles. (Turf)
|1||1||Sarach||3/F||L||M Garcia||121||R E Mandella||
|2||2||Say||3/F||L||J Graham||121||A P O’Brien||
|3||3||Caroline Thomas||3/F||L||R Napravnik||121||B Tagg||
|4||4||Alterite||3/F||L||J R Velazquez||121||C C Brown||
|5||5||Emotional Kitten||3/F||L||G K Gomez||121||W A Ward||
|6||6||Concise||3/F||L||E S Prado||121||H G Motion||
|7||7||Kitten’s Dumplings||3/F||L||J R Leparoux||121||M J Maker||
|8||8||Leigh Court||3/F||L||G Boulanger||121||J Carroll||
|9||9||I’m Already Sexy||3/F||F Geroux||121||W M Catalano||
1) Kitten’s Dumplings- got up to be fourth (from ninth position early) in her last (The Del-Mar Oaks).
But the three races she ran before that were nothing short of spectacular, come from behind, visually impressive, powerhouse wins.
In two of those last three (June 15 Regret Stakes and the July 24 Lake George Stakes) she was 16 and 13 lengths behind (respectively) early, but came roaring off the turn and down the stretch to win both going away.
When the Daily Racing Form asked trainer Mike Maker how this filly, by red-hot sire Kitten’s Joy, was doing coming into this race, Maker said: “She’s put on some weight and gotten bigger and stronger than she’s ever been. She is doing outstanding, and we look for a big performance. I know how much this race means to (owner) Mr. (Ken)Ramsey, and we’ve really been bearing down on having the filly at a peak for this.”
She shows a bullet five furlong work (1:00) for this and I’m taking her to bounce back off that defeat in California….provided she gets an honest pace in front of her (and on paper it looks like she should) and doesn’t encounter any serious traffic issues, she should be rolling down the stretch like she usually does.
2) Alterite- is clearly Kitten’s Dumplings main foe based on her last race.
This filly was shipped over from France and overcame a slow pace (and having to go 3 wide on the turn for home) to win the Grade: 1 Garden City at Belmont on Sept 14 going away.
I’m not enamored with the 2 fairly slow works since the Garden City but horses train differently overseas…and the fact she attracts JV as her rider has to get your attention.
3) Emotional Kitten– yet another stretch running filly, has been very good in her last two, which read a half length defeat to a very good Emollient (July 13) and a gaining ground late third in the Grade:1 Del Mar Oaks in her last (Aug 17).
In fact, a closer look at her last six races show she’s either won (3 of them) or has been within 2 lengths of the winner. That, along with her 7 of 9 career turf record, speaks volumes about her consistency and I expect another good performance come Saturday afternoon.
I’m Already Sexy is in career best form right now as she comes into this a winner of 3 of her last 4 and her speed figures have skyrocketed in each subsequent start. I’ll tell you there’s a lot to like here including her versatility (she can win from on the lead or coming from behind), the two dominant wins in her last two races (she won by almost 5 and by almost 4), her last two works (Sept. 26- 4F- :46.2 & Oct 6- 5F- :59.2) and her 4 wins from 6 lifetime turf starts. On top of all that, she’s 8-1 on the morning line…that, readers, is what I call value. The only negative I can find on her is she is stepping up in class, but with the form she’s in right now? I’m not sure that will matter. Leigh Court is a Canadian speedster who comes into this riding a three race winning streak with all three of those wins coming on the front end and two of them being blow outs. She shows a career record of 7-4-2-0. The only problem I see is that only one of those 4 wins came on the turf….but speed like her’s is always dangerous, hence the honorable mention. Caroline Thomas hasn’t won in almost a year and shows the dreaded one good race, one bad race pattern over her last 4 starts dating back to June 16. I abhor betting on inconsistent horses, but if she runs one of her “good” races on Saturday, she’s a contender…plus her mom won this race in 2007…in case that means anything to anybody.
Record: 17-48 = 35%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces:
**** A couple of quick personal notes, King Kongrats, of whom yours truly owns a small percentage of, will be making the second start of his career in BelmontPark’s first race on Saturday. We are hoping our two year old colt by Congrats will improve off his late running fifth place finish in his debut on Sept 21.
Also, speaking of Congrats, a congrats is due for my beloved St. Louis Cardinals who took out a young and hungry Pittsburgh Pirate team to move to the National League Championship Series starting tonight. (Friday)
**** 2011 two year old champion colt Hansen has been sold to South Korea, former owner Dr. Kendall Hansen said this past Tuesday.
“Hansen left for Korea today,” Hansen said. “The government there is apparently going full-throttle trying to improve their racing industry, and they really want top bloodlines for their program.”
“It’s rare for anybody to buy a stallion in their second year,” Hansen added. “They got the offer out of the blue and the number was pretty high, they made more than I did for him… I think most farms would have done the same in that situation, but obviously I wouldn’t have because I had the personal connection to him.”
Hansen said conditions of the sale included a buy-back option depending on how the stallion’s first crop fares.
“There’s a chance he could earn his way back,” Hansen continued. “They insisted they have an option to buy him back if his first crop throws some stakes winners.”
**** Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders Game On Dude, Fort Larned and Will Take Charge all drilled this past Tuesday.
*Game On Dude went an easy half in :50 3/5 under regular work rider Martin Garcia at Santa Anita. “This was his last easy work,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “He was just cruising around there. We’re just trying to keep him happy. Really, though, he’s ready to go. I’ll start cranking on him next week”
*Fort Larned, who won the Classic last year, also went a half but was timed in :49 flat, out five furlongs in 1:00.2 at Churchill Down for trainer Ian Wilkes.
Fort Larned “went great,” Wilkes said “It was just a maintenance work, let him stretch his legs, he galloped out good too.”
*Will Take Charge, who won the Travers Stakes and Pennsylvania Derby in his last two starts, went five furlongs in 1:00 2/5.
“That horse is really looking good. He did that quite easily,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said of the Churchill Downs workout. “He’s getting better.”
“Will Take Charge always has been an imposing animal”. Lukas said he’s “starting to fill out.”
“He’s a big, strong horse,” Lukas added. “He’s eating better. He’s all muscled out. He’s gotten into the routine. I’m excited to get him out there.”
Lukas said Will Take Charge would continue to train and work at Churchill Downs until Oct. 22, when he sends his Breeders’ Cup horses – including Strong Mandate for the Juvenile, and Fast Bullet for the Sprint – to Santa Anita.
“I want to get a breeze in there,” Lukas finished up with.
**** Speaking of the Breeders Cup, Champions Wise Dan and Groupie Doll, who were both victims of major upsets last weekend, remain on target for their respective races in the Breeders’ Cup according to their trainers.
The morning after Wise Dan’s second place finish in the off-the-turf Shadwell Turf Mile, trainer Charlie LoPresti said his chestnut gelding came out of his race “in good order” and is pointing toward a defense of his title in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park.
“Those were not ideal conditions,” LoPresti said of the Shadwell Mile after the race was taken off the turf and put onto the Keeneland Polytrack after 1 1/2 inches of rain in less than two hours. “I was a little disappointed that he lost, but he never stopped trying and was gaining on the winner (Silver Max).”
“I looked at the Trakus (stats) after the race and it showed he ran 40 feet farther than the winner,” LoPresti said. “That computes to losing about four lengths.”
“We will make sure he is OK for the Breeders’ Cup and go out on the 29th (of October),” LoPresti added.
Also, Buff Bradley, trainer and part owner of Groupie Doll, said his mare is also being pointed towards a defense of her title in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint after finishing third 1 3/4 lengths behind the victorious Judy the Beauty.
“She’s tired, but she had to run the whole way in that race,” Bradley said. “That was not her typical race yesterday. Usually she is just getting started the first quarter of a mile, but yesterday she was in against a couple of Polytrack professionals (in Judy the Beauty and Gypsy Robin).
**** Honor Code, who uncorked a furious stretch drive and finished a just missed second in the Champagne Stakes last weekend, will be skipping the Breeders Cup Juvenile in favor of “staying home” for the Nov 30 Remsen Stakes according to trainer Shug McGaughey.
“The major part of that decision was that we just want to have a nice horse next year,” McGaughey said. “We just felt like taking a young one out there that’s only run two times, especially one we have a lot of high hopes for, might not be in the best interests of the horse.”
“With the Remsen here going a mile and an eighth around two turns at Aqueduct—which, barring bad weather, at that time of year the track is usually really good—we decided to stay home and train him a little bit and have him ready to run in that race instead.”
“He was a little wired after the Champagne but he’s settled in fine now,” McGaughey said. “Obviously we’d like to be able to compete in the Breeders’ Cup any time we feel like we’ve got a good chance, but we felt like in this case, the right thing to do would be to stay here.”
Thanks for Reading…