Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup 2019: Odds and analysis

Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup 2019: Odds and analysis
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland attracted an international field of nine 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

The field contains an American Grade 1 winner in Cambier Parc fresh off a victory in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) and the Irish-bred Castle Lady, who won a Group 1 stakes race at Longchamp in France.

As would be expected in any major turf race, the multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will be represented by three fillies. Brown's aiming for his third QE II victory following last year's score with Rushing Fall and a 2012 win with Dayatthespa.

Here is an analysis of the field alongside projected morning line odds by the Horse racing Nation staff. The Queen Elizabeth II is slated as Race 9 with post time scheduled for 5:30 pm ET.

1) Lady Prancealot (IRE) [ML 12-1 – Sir Prancealot (IRE) – R. Baltas/B. Hernandez Jr. – 15: 3-4-3 - $277,841] This Richard Baltas runner won the Honeymoon Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita. Since then, she ran third in the Del Mar Oaks behind Cambier Parc and was sixth in the inaugural Jockey Club Oaks at Belmont Park. Baltas can be dangerous when shipping across the country from his California base. Key trifecta horse.

2) Kelsey’s Cross [ML 20-1 – Anthony’s Cross – P. Biancone/J. Leparoux – 6: 2-1-3 - $174,000] – Although this filly shows three third-place finishes in stakes company, her latest victory came in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park last month when she rallied from a stalking position. Toss.

3) Cambier Parc [ML 2-1 – Medaglia d’Oro – C. Brown/J. Velazquez – 7: 4-0-1 - $497,460] With an impressive closing move in the Del Mar Oaks, she became the one to beat in this field, too. Jockey John Velazquez has won this race four times, most recently with Time and Motion in 2016 for trainer Jimmy Toner. Cambier Parc's past five starts were in graded stakes and also include two Grade 3 victories. Top Choice.

4) Princesa Carolina [ML 8-1 – Tapit – K. McPeek/J. Ortiz – 11: 3-3-1 - $403,619] The Kenny McPeek filly comes to this spot as one of the most experienced contenders. Last out she won her first stakes race in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs with a convincing closing stretch move. Use in trifecta.

5) Castle Lady (IRE) [ML 5-1 – Shamardal – H. Pantali/M. Barzalona – 4: 3-0-0 - $388,124] This Irish-bred filly from Godolphin won her first three starts, including two races at Longchamps in France. In May, she was victorious in a Group 1 stakes going a mile on a heavy turf course. Her most recent start came at Royal Ascot in June when she was fifth in the Coronation (G1) against Europe’s best. Use in trifecta.

6) Café Americano [ML 8-1 – Medaglia d’Oro – C. Brown/I. Ortiz Jr. – 4: 3-0-0 - $149,800] The lightly raced daughter of Medaglia d’ Oro rebounded from a sixth-place finish in the Belmont Oaks to win the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington Park as the 5-2 favorite while rallying from 10th, almost eight lengths behind. In that race, she beat Princesa Carolina, who came back to win at Kentucky Downs. Use in trifecta.

7) Magnetic Charm (GB) [ML 15-1 – Exceed and Excel (AUS) – K. Kimura/F. Geroux – 8: 2-2-2 - $115,179] Owned by Queen Elizabeth herself, this filly shipped to Woodbine to run second in the Canadian Stakes (G2) last month after racing at top tracks in England like Ascot and York. She won the Oaks Farms Stables Stakes at York in May. Toss.

8) Varenka [ML 4-1 – Ghostzapper – G. Motion/J. Castellano – 8: 3-2-2 - $278,100] She was in a dead heat for the top spot in the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga as the favorite over Regal Glory. She didn’t break her maiden until her fifth start, even though she placed in a Grade 2 as a 2-year-old. Varenka is more of a deep closer. Use in trifecta.

9) Regal Glory [ML 3-1 – Animal Kingdom– C. Brown/L. Saez – 7: 5-2-0 - $431,750] This Chad Brown runner won her last three races in stakes, including the dead heat with Varenka. Before that, she finished first in the Lake George (G3) at the Spa and in the Penn Oaks at Penn National. She has never run worse than second in seven career starts with her stalking style. Use in trifecta.

: This international field for the QE II presents an interesting handicapping exercise because there is a noteworthy absence of early speed among the 3-year-old fillies. When a big field is made up of horses who all want to come from off the pace to some extent, securing a clean trip becomes even more vital.

Of course, in any Grade 1 turf race the Chad Brown runners need to get the first look. The trio of Cambier Parc, Regal Glory, and Café Americano are all coming into the race after victories in graded stakes races.

I had to go to the website of the British racing publication the Racing Post to find information on the Godolophin homebred Castle Lady who is a Group 1 winner at Longchamp. She returns from a May layoff after facing the top fillies in Europe in her four starts.

There will be attractive odds available for some talented fillies because in this field of nine since some quality horses will have to go overlooked. I'll be playing a trifecta ticket, keying a horse with generous odds in the second and third positions.

Baltas just shipped Neptune's Storm east to win Belmont Park's Hill Prince (G2) last weekend at 10-1. I'm banking on the momentum continuing with Lady Prancealot my key horse.

50¢ trifecta
: Café Americano, Cambier Parc, Castle Lady, Regal Glory, Varenka with Café Americano, Cambier Parc, Castle Lady, Regal Glory, Varenka, Magnetic Charm, Princesa Carolina with Lady Prancealot = $12.50

50¢ trifecta
: Café Americano, Cambier Parc, Castle Lady, Regal Glory, Varenka with Lady Prancealot with Café Americano, Cambier Parc, Castle Lady, Regal Glory, Varenka, Magnetic Charm, Princesa Carolina = $12.50

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