racing secretary Ben Huffman said Saturday morning that the connections
of seven 3-year-old fillies had accepted invitations for the 28th
running of the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) to be
contested at 1 1/8 miles on the turf on Saturday, October 15.
Among the invitees are the top three finishers from last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2): More Than Real, Winter Memories and Kathmanblu; the top three finishers from the Del Mar Oaks (G1): Summer Soiree, Star Billing and Nereid; and, Marketing Mix, winner of the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington Park in her most recent start.
Phillips Racing Partnership’s Winter Memories has won four of five
starts in 2011 and has beaten More Than Real in their two meetings this
year. Trained by James Toner, Winter Memories opened her 2011 campaign
with a victory in the one-mile Appalachian (G3) here this spring.
D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables’ Kathmanblu also is a Keeneland
turf stakes winner, having captured the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine last
fall. Trained by Ken McPeek, Kathmanblu finished eighth behind Winter
Memories in the Grade 1 Garden City in her most recent start. McPeek
said Kathmanblu is scheduled to work on the Keeneland turf course on
Valor International’s Summer Soiree has not run at Keeneland, but she
trained here this spring prior to running in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Trained by Graham Motion, Summer Soiree is two-for-two on the turf with a
victory in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park in addition to
her Del Mar Oaks victory.
Krikorian’s Star Billing and Eric Kronfeld’s Nereid are both trained by
John Shirreffs and are graded stakes winners on the turf in California.
Star Billing won the Senorita (G3) at Hollywood Park and Nereid
dead-heated for the victory in the American Oaks (G1) at Hollywood Park.
Nereid finished a head in front of Star Billing in the American Oaks
and Star Billing finished a nose in front of Nereid in the Del Mar Oaks.
Hill Farm’s Marketing Mix also is undefeated on the turf in two starts.
In addition to the Pucker Up, which she won by 3¼ lengths, Marketing
Mix won the Wonder Where at Woodbine by 4¾ lengths. Marketing Mix is
trained by Tom Proctor.
addition to the seven confirmed invitees, Huffman said three other
fillies were under consideration for the race that was won last year by Harmonious, who was trained by Shirreffs.