By Emily Shields
The rich $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland on Saturday, October 12 drew a field of nine sophomore fillies who will run the 1 1/8 mile distance. Del Mar Oaks (G1) winner Cambier Parc will attempt to make it consecutive grade 1 wins in this prestigious event.
#1 Lady Prancealot (Ire) (15-1) was twice stakes-placed last year before winning the Honeymoon (G3) at Santa Anita in June. She was third behind Cambier Parc in the Del Mar Oaks, then ran sixth in the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational at Belmont Park. Richard Baltas trains the daughter of Sir Prancealot, who has been top three in 10 of 15 starts.
#2 Kelsey’s Cross (15-1) is coming off an allowance win at Gulfstream Park after breaking her maiden there back in May. She has been three-time stakes-placed since then, including a third place in the rich Saratoga Oaks. Patrick Biancone trains, Keeneland top rider Julien Leparoux will ride.
#3 Cambier Parc (8-5) is a deserving favorite for Chad Brown after winning the Del Mar Oaks (G1) under John Velazquez, who retains the mount. She was third in the Belmont Oaks (G1) and won the Wonder Again (G3) in June. The $1.25 million yearling purchase has won four of seven starts.
#4 Princesa Carolina (15-1) is royally bred. Her dam Pure Clan earned $1.9 million on the track and was a grade 1 winner on grass, her sire is Tapit. Princesa Carolina herself is coming off a win in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs for her trainer, Ken McPeek. Jose Ortiz will be aboard the three-time winner.
#5 Castle Lady (Ire) (7-2) comes in from England and France. The Godolphin filly is three for four lifetime and a group 3 winner. She was fifth in the group 1 Coronation last out behind Watch Me and Hermosa.
#6 Café Americano (6-1) is Brown’s second of three entrants. She won the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington Park after breaking her maiden at Guflstream and winning an allowance at Belmont. The only blemish on her record is the Belmont Oaks, where she ran sixth. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro.
#7 Magnetic Charm (GB) (12-1) was second older fillies and mares in the Canadian (G2) at Woodbine last out. She is a stakes winner in England for William Haggas. Florent Geroux will ride for the first time.
#8 Varenka (6-1) has won two in a row for Graham Motion. She is coming off a dead-heat win in the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga. She ran second in the Miss Grillo (G2) and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last year as a maiden, then got the job done at Belmont Park this May. She has won three of eight with seven top-three efforts.
#9 Regal Glory (6-1) rounds out the field. She was the other dead-heat winner of the Lake Placid, after taking the Lake George earlier in the Saratoga meet. She has won three in a row and has never been worse than second for Brown. Luis Saez will ride the daughter of Animal Kingdom, who was second here in a grade 2 in April.
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