The Grade I, $500,000 QEII Challenge Cup takes place this Saturday at Keeneland. Eight three-year-old fillies will test their mettle at 1 1/8-miles on the turf course. Post time for the QEII Challenge Cup, the ninth of 10 races on the day, is 5:30 p.m. EST. As always, feel free to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#8 RUSHING FALL (7-5, morning-line favorite) is a neck from being a perfect 6-for-6 in her career. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner has four graded stakes victories to her credit, including the Jessamine and Appalachian over the Keeneland turf course. RUSHING FALL should be on or close to a glacial pace, which gives her the tactical advantage as well. Javier Castellano maintains the assignment on the obvious horse to beat.
#5 MISSION IMPASSIBLE (6-1) intrigues shipping in from France. She was 3-for-5 in her two-year-old season, with a third in a Group I. She’s been ambitiously-placed since then, with just one Group II victory to show for the season. MISSION IMPASSIBLE gets effective class relief shipping out of Europe for this. Florent Geroux sees fit to take over.
#4 DADDY IS A LEGEND (6-1) has finished behind RUSHING FALL four times in her career, including last time out in the Lake Placid. However, she’s just one start removed from her career-best effort in the Lake George at Saratoga. If she gets another trip like she did that day with Robby Albarado climbing aboard, she figures for a share.
#3 FATALE BERE (5-1) and #6 SECRET MESSAGE (12-1) typically rally from far back. The former is 2-for-3 going 1 1/8-miles, including a victory in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks last time out. Kent Desormeaux ships in for the call.
The latter is in career form, as she won the Grade III Pucker Up at Arlington two-back and rallied for second in the Grade II Sands Point at Belmont when last seen. Jorge Vargas Jr. represents a downgrade in the saddle from John Velazquez, but her odds are too tempting to pass up altogether.
The play: $5 exacta 8/4,5, $2 exacta 8/3,6, 50 cent trifecta 8/3-6/3-6 ($20)
DFJ analysis: Javier Castellano and Florent Geroux are tough to split this Saturday, so take both if you can. Castellano rides in six races, and none of his mounts are above 4-1 on the morning-line. That includes heavy favorite RUSHING FALL in the QEII Challenge Cup.
Geroux has five mounts at Keeneland this Saturday, and all but one are 4-1 or less on the morning-line. MISSION IMPASSIBLE gives him a good shot at placing in the feature at 6-1.
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