The final Grade 1 race of the fall meeting at Keeneland is Saturday with an evenly matched field of nine three-year-old fillies lining up in the $500,00 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), a test at 1 1/8 miles on the grass.
While all of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge races are done, this race potentially could produce a contender for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) in three weeks at Santa Anita, but more likely will serve as a preview of next year’s race.
Perfect Sting won the QEII in 1999 and won the Filly & Mare Turf the following year. Film Maker won the race in 2003 and ran second in the Filly & Mare Turf in 2004, was third in 2005 and second in 2006.
Trainer Chad Brown who won the race in 2012 with Dayatthespa ships in a pair of runners in Minorette and Ball Dancing, who are both at 9-2 on the morning line but are not a coupled entry.
Minorette won the Belmont Oaks (G1) two back over good going, but came up short last out in a fourth place finish in the Lake Placid (G2) which was won by Crown Queen, who is the 4-1 second choice here.
Ball Dancing made her U.S. debut a winning one, taking the Sands Point (G2) at Belmont Park on Sept. 13 off a three-month break.
The feature at Belmont Park is the $200,000 Knickerbocker (G3) for three three-year-olds and upward going nine furlongs on the inner turf. Eight will line up including Za Approval, who snapped a five race losing streak by winning the Real Courage in his last outing on Sept. 7 at Belmont Park.
My Best Plays for Saturday will include the stakes action along with my strongest plays from Keeneland and Belmont Park.
Let’s head out to Keeneland for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Keeneland Race 9 The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup II G1 (Post time 5:13 ET)
3 Speed Skater 12-1
6 Ball Dancing 9-2
5 Personal Diary 7-2
9 Daring Dancer 6-1
Analysis: Speed Skater made a good late rally to win the Ontario Colin (G3) last out at Woodbine in a good-looking effort. This gal broke her mad impressively in her debut and the barn tossed her into stakes company in the Lake George (G2) and she checked in fifth but was beaten just 2 1/4 lengths. The filly earned a solid fig and while she steps into a tougher spot here with several proven fillies she looks as if she still has some upside and showed she can handle ground with some give to it last out. Decent value if we catch most of her 12-1 morning line, but have a feeling she is going to take a little action.
Ball Dancing won the Sands Point (G2) last out in her U.S. debut coming off a three-month break for the Chad Brown barn. The filly raced near the back of the pack and came with a good late run at 5-1. The filly won a stake at Longchamp in France four back over less than firm going. The filly has landed in the exacta in four of her six career starts. Brown is 23% winners with runners making their second start off a 46-180 break and she looks like a good fit in this spot.
Personal Diary is coming off a career best where she won the Del Mar Oaks (G1). She also ran well in the Regret (G3) three back where she landed third and placed second via a DQ, beaten just a half-length for the top spot. She seems to like former footing but did run a decent second over good ground at Churchill Downs last fall against Alw-2L foes.
WIN: #3 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 3,5,6,9
TRI: 3,6 / 3,5,6,9 / 2,3,5,6,9
Michael’s Breeders’ Cup Report for Friday and Saturday includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the Friday and Saturday card from Santa Anita Park on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
The Breeders’ Cup offers 13 championship races over two days, bringing together the best top horses, trainers, and jockeys from around the world, this year to compete at Santa Anita Park.