A field of nine three-year-old fillies will line up on Saturday in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), the final Grade 1 race of the fall meeting at Keeneland.
The race occasionally produces starters for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) which is now just three weeks away.
The filly that could make the jump is the talented Sentiero Italia, a winner of four of her six career starts, winning back-to-back Grade 2 races in New York in her last two outings.
The filly was installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite and will tote 121 pounds including jockey Joel Rosario, who rode her to victory in her last two starts.
Miss Temple City (5-1) could not match strides with the morning line favorite in her last two starts, but returns here for trainer Graham Motion with lasix added to the mix. Motion will give a leg up to Drayden Van Dyke, who will be riding the daughter of Temple City for the first time.
The field drew runners from across the U.S., with the fillies having run last at Indiana Grand, Del Mar, Belmont Park, Kentucky Downs and Saratoga,
The feature at Belmont Park on Saturday is also on the turf, a field of 10 going nine furlongs in the $200,000 Knickerbocker (G3). The Bill Mott trained War Dancer is the 7-2 morning line favorite in a wide-open betting affair.
The five-year-old comes into the race riding a nine race losing streak, last winning the Louisville Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs in May of 2014. He has faced Grade 1 company in three of his last four starts including a tough neck loss in the Man O’ War in May over the Belmont Park turf.
Cliff Hangar (G3) winner Middleburg (9-2) and Commonwealth Cup (G2) victor Mr Speaker (4-1) figure to take some betting action.
Saturday’s Best Plays Report includes my strongest plays from Belmont Park and Keeneland.
Let’s head out to Keeneland for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
KEE Race 9 The QEII Challenge Cup G1 (5:30 ET)
#3 Miss Temple City 5-1
#9 Sentiero Italia 6-5
#6 Olorda 15-1
#2 Prize Exhibit 6-1
Analysis: Miss Temple City has come up short to the morning line favorite in here in her last two starts, last out checking in third in the Sands Point (G2) where she weakened late to finish four lengths behind the winner. The Graham Motion barn adds lasix today and she may end up getting overlooked on the tote here. She was only beaten two lengths when fourth when shipped to Royal Ascot for the Coronation Stakes (G1) back in June. The runner up in that race was Found, who came back to win the Group 3 Whip Stakes at the Curragh in her next outing. She has handled ground with some give to it, running a good second to Lady Eli here at the spring meeting in the Appalachian (G3).
Sentiero Italia has won four of her six career starts and come into the race off back-to-back Grade 2 wins in the lake Placid and Sands Point. She handled ground with some give to it in her most recent victory. She is perfect in her three starts at nine furlongs and looks talented enough with a big performance here to wheel back in three weeks for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) versus older. She will be tough but her price may end up south of even money.
Olorda faded to finish 11th in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) in her U.S. debut and was dismissed at 20-1 in the field of 14. Trainer Chad Brown takes the blinkers off and adds lasix here. Three back she won the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux at Longchamp and fact Brown ships her here indicates she is better than she showed in her last outing. Worth tossing in the mix here at a generous price.
WIN: #3 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 3,9 / 2,3,6,9
TRI: 3,9 / 2,3,6,9 / 2,3,4,6,9
Michael Dempsey’s Breeders’ Cup Report
Michael’s Breeders’ Cup Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the card from Keeneland on Oc. 30-31.
The Breeders’ Cup offers 12 championship races over two days, bringing together the best top horses, trainers, and jockeys from around the world, this year to compete at Keeneland.
In 2013 on Breeders’ Cup Saturday Mike nailed seven recommended exactas, paying $53.20, $19.00, $23.20, $58.00, $66.60, $107.80, and $33.60!