Three Chimneys Racing LLC’s Rosa Grace (GB) will make her first start for trainer Christophe Clement in the 25th running of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) on Saturday. The $500,000 invitational race is for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Rosa Grace, a daughter of German Horse of the Year Lomitas (GB), won three of the first seven starts of her career in England and Ireland. In June at Newbury, she took the Ballymacoll Stud Lord Weinstock Memorial at a little over 1 ¼ miles on a course rated as good.
“She’s a nice filly,” said Ben Colebrook, Clement’s assistant at Keeneland. “We’ve had her long enough (that) we’ve breezed her a few times. She had her last breeze at Belmont, and she went very well. The turf was real soft that day, but it didn’t seem to be too much of a problem. She’s won on good turf in England, and I think she probably likes it a little better firm.”
Rosa Grace has a tough assignment in the QEII as every starter in the field of 11 is a stakes winner. Two horses are coming off Grade 1 wins: Paul P. Pompa Jr.’s Backseat Rhythm and David Bienstock, Paul Mandabach and Charles Winner’s Magical Fantasy. Third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), Backseat Rhythm took the Garden City over 1 1/8 miles at Belmont on September 6. Magical Fantasy won the 1 1/8-mile Del Mar Oaks on August 16
Two stakes winner from Keeneland’s spring meeting, Ariege and Alwajeeha, return in the QEII. Ariege, winner of the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) in March, won the Stonerside Beaumont (G2), run at about seven furlongs on the Polytrack, and Alwajeeha took the Appalachian (G3) at one mile on turf.
Other starters include Lake George (G2) winner My Princess Jess; Closeout, coming off a win in Arlington’s Pucker Up (G3) on September 6, and Storm Mesa, whose five-race win streak included the San Clemente (G2) and Iowa Oaks (G3) before she ran fifth in the Del Mar Oaks. Rounding out the field are stakes winners Lickety Lemon, My Baby Baby and Sefroua.
The field for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, from the hedge out, is as follows: Ariege (A. Garcia), Sefroua (R. Dominguez), Storm Mesa (E. Martin Jr.), Alwajeeha (J. Velazquez), Closeout (J. Theriot), Magical Fantasy (A. Solis), Rosa Grace (J. Leparoux), Backseat Rhythm (J. Castellano), Lickety Lemon (S. Bridgmohan), My Baby Baby (R. Albarado) and My Princess Jess (E. Coa). All starters will carry 121 pounds.
EATON’S GIFT TOP WEIGHT FOR SATURDAY’S PERRYVILLE
Zayat Stables’ Eaton’s Gift, winner of the Grade 2 Swale Stakes this winter, will carry top weight of 121 pounds against 11 foes in Saturday’s 10th running of the $200,000 Perryville (G3) over the Beard Course of seven furlongs, 184 feet.
Trained by Dale Romans, Eaton’s Gift broke his maiden over Keeneland’s Polytrack surface last fall in his second start and finished third in the Lafayette this April. His only other synthetic track try resulted in a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity in December at Hollywood Park.
Calvin Borel has the call on Eaton’s Gift, who will break from post position five in the Perryville, which goes as the seventh race on Saturday’s 10-race card.
Of the remaining 11 entrants, two show stakes scores over Polytrack.
Sassafras Racing and Gulf Coast Farms’ Meal Penalty won the six-furlong Shecky Greene at Arlington Park in May for trainer Todd Pletcher, who took the 2005 Perryville with Vicarage. Team Block’s Amazing Results, trained by Chris Block, won the one-mile Springfield in June and the seven-furlong Forward Pass in August at Arlington.
The field for the Perryville, from the rail out, is as follows: I’m So Lucky (R. Albarado, 117 pounds), Nickel Shooter (R. Dominguez, 117), Ready’s Image (E. Coa, 117), Fidelio (J. Velazquez, 117), Eaton’s Gift (C. Borel, 121), Godolphin Gray (M. Straight, 117), West Express (M. Mena, 117), Meal Penalty (J. Castellano, 117), Wise Answer (J. Theriot, 117), Hatta Fort (GB) (J. Leparoux, 117), Liberty Bull (C. Lanerie, 117), and Amazing Results (R. Douglas, 117).
GLAMOROUS GAL HOPING FOR BETTER LUCK IN JESSAMINE
It is said there are a thousand ways to lose a horse race and trainer Simon Hobson may have found No. 1,001 the most recent time that Glamorous Gal ran.
“I think the pony stepped on her shoe and it ripped right off,” Hobson said of Glamorous Gal’s fourth-place finish in the Junior Champion Stakes on August 23 at Monmouth Park. “She never picked it up in the race and came back with a cut on her back leg.”
Owned by Hickory Tree Stables of Jim and Marylea Treptow, Glamorous Gal returns to the races Thursday afternoon in the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes for two-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. The race is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge with the victor earning a spot in the starting gate for the $1 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf to be run October 24 at Santa Anita.
Rain that fell on Central Kentucky most of Wednesday morning was forecast to move out with warmer conditions on tap for Thursday and a likely firm turf course.
“The ground was actually a little soft when she broke her maiden at Colonial,” said Hobson, whose filly missed a little more than a week of training after the Monmouth race. “She has been training really well and to us that last race is a total throw out.”
Glamorous Gal, who will break from post position three under Calvin Borel, has won two of three starts on the turf and is one of two grass stakes winners in the field of 12 along with Dolphus Morrison’s Abbott Hall.
IEAH EYES ADDITIONAL BREEDERS’ CUP AMMO WITH LARAGH
To say IEAH Stables is loaded for an assault on this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships would be a gross understatement.
One can start with Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winner Big Brown, toss in defending Mile (G1) winner Kip Deville and, for a little distaff spice, add American Oaks (G1) winner Pure Clan into the mix for the Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Trainer John Terranova hopes that Laragh can be added to the California-bound roster with a victory in Thursday’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes that grants the winner a berth in the starting gate for the Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“We have just had her a couple of weeks,” Terranova said of the daughter of Tapit who is owned in partnership with Golden Goose Enterprise. “She had been up at Woodbine with (trainer) Mark Casse.”
Laragh, who will break from post position seven under Edgar Prado, has done all of her running at Woodbine. She broke her maiden in her second start on Polytrack and then finished fifth in her stakes debut in the Natalma on September 14.
“We made the decision to leave her at Woodbine rather than ship to Belmont for her first time on turf,” Terranova said. “The ground came up extremely soft that day and it was the first time she had gone a route of ground. She got bogged down on the inside and just got tired.”
Laragh arrived at Keeneland on Monday after tuning up for the race with a half-mile breeze Friday at Belmont Park over the main track in :49.20.
“She was entered in the Miss Grillo (last week at Belmont), but the ground was still soft,” Terranova said. “We thought this was a better spot and it gave us another eight days.”
Ben Colebrook, assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, said Rutherienne, who was third behind Forever Together and Precious Kitten in the First Lady (G1) last Friday, came out of the race well and would remain at Keeneland for the time being. He said the four-year-old daughter of Pulpit might make her next start at Calder on the turf in the My Charmer (G3) on December 6 or be sent to California. “She’ll run once more this year, then we’ll put her away and hopefully bring her back next year,” Colebrook said about Rutherienne, a homebred racing for Virginia Kraft Payson who has earned $912,255. “She should be towards the top of the division with all the other fillies retiring.”
KEENELAND HOSTS COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP DAY ON FRIDAY
Thanks to Keeneland's proximity to a number of colleges and universities, attending the races in April and October is a favorite pastime of thousands of students. As a result, one of Keeneland's most popular special events each racing season is College Scholarship Day.
This Friday Keeneland invites full-time college students to attend College Scholarship Day and register to win a $1,000 scholarship or a Verizon Wireless Palm Centro Smartphone to be given away after each of the day’s 10 races.
The first 1,000 students who register for a scholarship will receive a free long-sleeve Keeneland College Scholarship Day T-shirt, courtesy of Vineyard Vines.
On Friday at Keeneland, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, co-sponsor of the event, will mark a milestone, surpassing the $300,000 mark in total scholarship aid it has provided to college students at giveaways at all Kentucky Thoroughbred racetracks.
UPCOMING FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Thursday, October 9 – Breeders’ Cup Legends Tour – Hall of Fame jockeys Pat Day and Laffit Pincay Jr. will be at Keeneland as part of an 11-city Breeders’ Cup Legends Tour celebrating the 25th running of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. (Angel Cordero Jr. was scheduled to join Day and Pincay at Keeneland but had to cancel for personal reasons.) A question-and-answer session with the public will be held in the Walking Ring at 12:05 p.m. A free autograph signing will take place near the Paddock from 2-3 p.m.
Friday, October 10 – Buffalo Trace Distillery Sweepstakes – Patrons can enter to win a VIP Distillery Experience. The first 2,000 patrons to register receive a free visor.
Friday, October 10 – Play the $200,000-guaranteed Pick 4 on races 7-10. Presented by TVG.
October 11-12 – Anna Ford Morgan Book Signing – Book signing by Anna Morgan Ford, author of Beyond the Track: Retraining the Thoroughbred from Racehorse to Riding Horse. Ford will sign books from 8:30-9:30 a.m. as part of Saturday’s Breakfast With the Works. Also on Saturday, and again on Sunday, Ford will sign books from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Keeneland Gift Shop.
Saturday, October 11 – Breakfast With the Works – Take a behind-the-scenes look at racing’s stars during Breakfast With the Works, from 7-8:30 a.m. Enjoy a Southern-style breakfast and free children’s activities. This Saturday, the Thoroughbred Racing Foundation’s Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center at the Kentucky Horse Park will give a demonstration in the paddock at 8:45 a.m.
Sunday, October 12 – WoodSongs Partners Day – Show your 2008 WoodSongs Partners card at any Keeneland passgate for free general admission for you and a guest. For information on becoming a WoodSongs Partner, visit http://www.woodsongs.com.