The Grade I, $500,000 QE II Challenge Cup is the feature race this Saturday at Keeneland. The 1 1/8-mile turf event drew a solid field of 11 three-year-old fillies. Going as the ninth of 10 races, post time for the QE II Challenge Cup is 5:30 p.m. EST. Be sure to study the entire Keeneland card if you’re playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#7 WUHEIDA (4-1) is an intimidating international shipper. She was last seen in the prestigious Group I Prix de l’Opera, where she was fourth beaten just a half-length. She’s failed to win in four starts since taking last year’s Group I Prix Marcel Boussac but has been close against some of the best female turf horses in the world. WUHEIDA projects to be close early on, which could help her in a race lacking early speed types. William Buick ships in for this winnable assignment.
#2 PROCTOR’S LEDGE (9-2) has rallied into slow paces in each of her last two starts, coming away with consecutive graded stakes scores. She even beat UNI, one of the Challenge Cup’s principle contenders, when last seen in the Lake Placid. Javier Castellano jumps off but Corey Lanerie, who’s ridden PROCTOR’S LEDGE before and excels at Keeneland, takes over. She looks to be the best of the local runners.
#4 DREAM DANCING (6-1) and Julien Leparoux made a successful sojourn to San Diego as they took the Grade I Del Mar Oaks last time out. It remains to be seen if she can replicate that performance, as her prior form is not as strong as some of her opposition’s, but she’s been training well and merits consideration. She beat several of today’s rivals in the aforementioned Del Mar Oaks with a less-than-ideal trip.
#9 BEAU RECALL (12-1) was nosed out of the victory in the Del Mar Oaks, adding to her collection of runner-up finishes this year (four seconds in six starts). However, she had a wide draw that day and took the overland route into the stretch under Joe Talamo. Like DREAM DANCING, she improved dramatically in the speed figure department last time out and must prove she can run back to that. She is a much juicier proposition at 12-1.
#10 UNI (9-2) and #11 NEW MONEY HONEY (4-1), both trained by Chad Brown, figure to take plenty of money. UNI edged out LA CORONEL when last seen in the Sands Point but took a step back speed figure-wise. Her lack of gate speed has led to some wide, ill-advised trips, which Irad Ortiz Jr. hopes to avoid today.
NEW MONEY HONEY won the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Oaks in her last turf start, which came in July. Her Alabama try on dirt can be forgiven, but she needs to run a lifetime-best speed figure to have a chance at winning this. Castellano chose her over PROCTOR’S LEDGE, which is food for thought.
The play: $2 exacta box 2/7, $2 exacta 7/2,4,9,10,11 ($14)
DFJ analysis: As usual, Corey Lanerie has a slew of good mounts lined up at Keeneland; eight in total. He starts his day in Race 3, where he rides the program favorite, likewise in Races 4 and 5. PROCTOR’S LEDGE gives him a great chance to capture Saturday’s lone stake – the QE II Challenge Cup.
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