LEXINGTON, KY (October 13, 2012) – Jerry Frankel, Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Dayatthespa went to the lead at the break and fended off all challengers to win the 29th running of the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) for 3-year-old fillies by two lengths over Centre Court before a crowd of 28,337 on Saturday afternoon at Keeneland.
Leaving the far turn, Better Lucky and Centre Court made runs at Dayatthespa, but Castellano had more than enough filly left and kicked clear again. Dayatthespa, a New York-bred daughter of City Zip out of the Doc’s Leader mare M’Lady Doc, covered the 1 1/8 miles on a firm turf course in 1:48.99.
The victory was the second in the race for Castellano, who won the 2007 renewal with Bit of Whimsy. It was Brown’s first victory in the race.
A winner of all five starts in 2012, including the Appalachian (G3) here in April, Dayatthespa earned $240,000 with the triumph and increased her earnings to $574,892 with a record of 8-6-1-0.
Sent off as the second choice in the field of eight, Dayatthespa returned $8.60, $4.40 and $3.60. Centre Court, ridden by Julien Leparoux, paid $5.80 and $3.60 with Better Lucky, under Shaun Bridgmohan, finishing a half-length back in third and paying $6.60 to show.
Samitar (GB) finished a nose back in fourth and was followed in order by Somali Lemonade, favored Stephanie’s Kitten, Treasured Up and Tannery (IRE).
The 17-day Fall Meet continues Sunday with a nine-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m. (ET).
Chad Brown (winning trainer of Dayatthespa)
“As she grows and matures, she’s become more settled, which has helped us train her and has helped (jockey) Javier (Castellano) rate her, and I think her best days are ahead of her.”
On whether he expected the slow early pace
“I was pleasantly surprised. We thought it could end up like that on paper but you never know. You’ve got great jockeys riding in this race; a lot of them can handicap well. I didn’t know what everyone was going to do. When I saw the three-quarters up in (a minute) :13, I was feeling pretty good.”
On whether she might compete at longer distances such as in the 1 ¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) on November 2
“I’ll talk it over with all the partners. Right now, that’s not the way we were thinking going into the race. You never know. She may go a little bit further than this, but we’ll just enjoy this and plan out the rest of her year from here.”
Javier Castellano (winning rider)
“I handicapped the race, and I didn’t see a lot of speed in the race. Only one horse had speed. I thought the pace was going to be moderate today, and I took advantage. My filly, she’s really quick out of the gate. On the turn for home at the quarter pole, I asked her a little bit and she responded. When she took off, I just let her go – hand ride.”
Julien Leparoux (rider of runner-up Centre Court)
“The slow pace in a way hurt us, but she ran good. I mean, she made her run. She closed and she finished very strong, you know, so she did her race. We got a good trip so that was good.”
Shaun Bridgmohan (rider of third-place finisher Better Lucky)
“I thought she ran very well. She was well placed throughout and the winner was always traveling good. When I looked up I could see he (Javier Castellano on Dayatthespa) was full of horse, but my horse hung in there real well. In her defense, she's a filly that tries hard. She gives you everything she’s got.”
Tom Albertrani (trainer of Better Lucky):
“I thought she was in perfect position. Shaun had her right to the outside. We were in a good spot. The winner was just traveling so well, he was content to stay where he was. I'm just proud she held third, so we're happy with the way she ran.”
John Velazquez (jockey of beaten favorite Stephanie’s Kitten, who finished sixth)
“I had a perfect trip. It was a slow pace and I was right where I wanted to be. It is a big disappointment that she really didn’t try very much today. I was right behind the winner. I had all the shot that I wanted. She just didn’t have it today.”
Wayne Catalano (trainer of Stephanie’s Kitten):
“It’s a surprising race for us. We’ve never had one run like that. I don’t know if she liked the turf course or not with the speed on there.”
On whether she would compete in the Breeders’ Cup
“Probably not. You’d hate to go to the Breeders’ Cup off a race like that.”