Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup

Keeneland Race Course will host the 36th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 dollar Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Saturday.  It is the ninth race on a card of ten, with a scheduled Post Time of 5:30.

The Queen herself has a filly running in the nine-furlong turf route, as she sends MAGNETIC CHARM to the gate with jockey Florent Geroux wearing the royal silks.

Here is a brief look at the field:

1.  LADY PRANCEALOT [ML 12-1]  She is a closer who will be very disadvantaged by the pace set up here.  This filly needs a lot of pace to aid that decidedly late energy distribution.

2.  KELSEY’S CROSS  [ML 20-1]  Nothing wrong with that Win last out as she moved forward again in her form cycle.  However, it was against a much easier bunch and it was at her preferred distance of a mile.  A mid-pack finish would not surprise and she continues to progress but others are better.

3.  CAMBIER PARC  [ML 2-1]  She Won a G1 race at Del Mar last out and is two for two at this distance.  Is one of just a few in here that owns enough turn of foot to overcome a slow pace.  She has not missed the Superfecta in her 7 career starts.

4.  PRINCESA CAROLINA  [ML 8-1]  She is finding her best stride right now and that last race was a great display of stamina against an easier field than what she faces here.  May try to pull off the upset by taking the lead as she did in that Allowance race on this turf course last spring going a mile 3/16, but now she’s running against far superior foes. 

5. CASTLE LADY [ML 5-1]  A really sharp European shipper that hasn’t seen racing action since June but does get first Lasix.  Will be advantaged by pressing this slow pace and gets the needed extra ground.  She has run against the top fillies in Europe in her last two races, which includes her Victory against last years Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up EAST.

6.  CAFE AMERICANO [ML 8-1]  Has not raced since August but that G3 the Pucker Up was a sensational effort.  This filly just inhaled that field after sitting well off that wickedly fast pace so it set up very well for her.  Discount that 6th place finish in the race before that, as she was carried out wide when bumped by another horse and had too much ground to make up.

7.  MAGNETIC CHARM [ML 15-1]  Is the only filly in the field to have run against older fillies and mares in a Stakes Race and in that last race she finished a game 2nd to the pace-advantaged STARSHIP JUBILEE on a yielding turf course which she did not take to.  Form cycle analysis indicates a very strong move forward in her 2nd start off the layoff and just her 5th start in 2019.  The concern is the added ground, as she is best going shorter.

8.  VARENKA [ML 4-1]  No question, this filly possesses the best turn of foot of any filly in the race.  Oddly enough, her three Wins all came in races that featured a slow pace. She is at her best when the turf is firm.  This is just her 5th race in 2019 so she’ll offer plenty of upside in this wide open race.  Extra ground, however, does not help her cause.

9.  REGAL GLORY [ML 3-1]  This is the most pace advantaged filly here and she will probably inherit the lead early on.  She does her best running off a layoff.  She is even better if the turf comes up on the softer side.  Her best race to date came on this turf course.

Summary: This international field presents an interesting handicapping scenario because there is an absence of early speed among these 3-year-old fillies.  In this big field the majority of the contenders like to come from off the pace, so getting a clean trip is imperative.

Much to the delight of the Daily Racing Blog there is Value to be had in this race, as some quality horses will be overlooked at the betting window.

The Play:  We will do a Trifecta Key using both the #5 and #6 on top of the 1-3-7-8-9.  Also an Exacta Box with the 3-5-6-9, and Win bets on the 1,6,and 7.

Best of luck no matter how you play it.

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