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Can Brown Go Back-to-Back in QE II?

Alterite wins 2013 Garden City.
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese

The Tuesday arrival of Martin S. Schwartz’s Alterite (FR) at Keeneland to prepare for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) on Saturday marked the first time that Baldo Hernandez, assistant to trainer Chad Brown, had seen her. Based on his impression, the 3-year-old filly is on track to become Brown’s second consecutive QE II winner following Dayatthespa last year.

“I think we’re in good shape,” said Hernandez, who saddled Kitten Kaboodle to win Wednesday’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) for Brown, who has remained at his Belmont Park base. “I think she’s going to prove she can run really well.”

By Literato, Alterite began her career in France, where she was Group 1-placed and finished sixth to Treve in the Prix de Diane Longines (French Oaks) (G1) on June 16. Alterite came to the U.S. and won the Garden City (G1) at Belmont on Sept. 14. (Finishing sixth in that race was Grade 1 winner Emollient, who returned to win the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster here last Sunday.) On Sunday, Treve won the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1).

John Velazquez, who rode Alterite in the Garden City, will be aboard the filly in the QE II. Velazquez has two wins in the race, on Perfect Arc in 1995 and Alwajeeha in 2008.

“She’s a special filly. She’s really nice,” Hernandez said about Alterite. “I think she’s going to run big on Saturday.”

Schwartz has won six stakes at Keeneland, including two with French-bred fillies. His Lady of Venice (FR) took the 2006 Appalachian, and his Gorella (FR) won the 2006 First Lady (G2). Schwartz scored a Grade 1 win here in 2006 when Asi Siempre won the Juddmonte Spinster.

LEIGH COURT FACES TOUGHEST TEST IN QE II

In her eight-race career, Melnyk Racing Stable’s Leigh Court has successfully navigated every new challenge sent her way.

First start on dirt: win by 3¼ lengths. First start on Polytrack: win by two lengths. First start on turf: win by three-quarters of a length.

“We liked her from the first time Mr. (Eugene) Melnyk sent her to us,” trainer Josie Carroll said by phone from Woodbine.

On Saturday, Leigh Court will face her biggest test yet when she takes on eight rivals in the 30th running of the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Riding a three-race win streak, Leigh Court won the Ontario Colleen (G3) going a mile in August and in her most recent start won the La Lorgnette by 5¼ lengths going 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack.

“I am not sure what her best surface is and I am not sure about her limitations,” Carroll said. “The mile and a sixteenth was a concern the last time, but she handled it well.”

Gary Boulanger, who has ridden Leigh Court in her past four starts, will have the mount Saturday and break from post position eight.

“It has been a good combination,” Carroll said of the pairing of horse and rider that has produced three wins and a second. “She is growing up and Gary sits quietly on her and they get along well.”

“I don’t expect to see her anywhere else,” Carroll said. “But she doesn’t have to be on the lead. In her debut she came from out of it and in her second start she got bumped around and still ran very well. If she does not break well tomorrow, I would not be overly concerned.”

 

 

 

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