LEXINGTON, Ky. (Keeneland) – Lael Stables’ Magic Attitude (GB) headlines a field of nine 3-year-old fillies entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 37th running of the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana.
The 1 1/8-mile grass test will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 5:30 p.m. ET post time. First post Saturday is 1:05 p.m.
Trained by Arnaud Delacour, Magic Attitude comes to Keeneland off a 2¼-length victory over Antoinette in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) in her U.S. debut.
Javier Castellano, a three-time winner of the QE II, retains the mount on Magic Attitude and will break from post position four.
Antoinette, owned and bred by Godolphin, won the Saratoga Oaks in her start prior to the Belmont Oaks. Trained by Bill Mott, who won the QE II in 2014 with Crown Queen, Antoinette will be ridden by James Graham and break from post position three.
Godolphin will have another homebred in the gate in Micheline. Trained by Mike Stidham, who won the QE II in 2015 with Her Emmynency, Micheline won the Exacta System Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs in her most recent start. She will be ridden by Florent Geroux and break from post position seven.
Mott will have a second starter in Harvey’s Lil Goil. Second to Micheline in the Dueling Grounds Oaks, Harvey’s Lil Goil races for the Estate of Harvey Clarke and Paul Braverman. Martin Garcia has the mount and will break from post position one.
One other trainer with past success in the QE II will be represented Saturday.
Mark Casse, trainer of 2017 winner La Coronel, will send out Stonestreet Stables’ homebred Hendy Woods. Second to Sharing in the Edgewood (G2) Presented by Forcht Bank in her most recent start, Hendy Woods will be ridden by Julien Leparoux and break from post position six.
The lone entrant to have run on the Keeneland turf course is Robert and Lawana Low’s Sweet Melania. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Sweet Melania won last year’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) by 5½ lengths and finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Santa Anita in her next start.
Winner of the Wonder Again (G3) in her 2020 debut and second beaten a nose in the Lake George (G3), Sweet Melania will be ridden by Flavien Prat and break from post position two.
Invading from California are the 1-2 finishers from the Del Mar Oaks (G1): Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Red Lark (IRE) and Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber’s homebred California Kook.
Trained by Paddy Gallagher, Red Lark notched her first stakes win with the 19-1 upset in the Del Mar Oaks. Drayden Van Dyke will have the mount and break from post position nine.
Following her runner-up effort at 27-1 in the Del Mar Oaks, California Kook came back two weeks later to run fourth against the boys in the Del Mar Derby (G2). Trained by Peter Miller, California Kook will break from post position eight and be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.
The field for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, with riders from the inside, is: Harvey’s Lil Goil (Garcia), Sweet Melania (Prat), Antoinette (Graham), Magic Attitude (GB) (Castellano), Lucky Betty (Declan Cannon), Hendy Woods (Leparoux), Micheline (Geroux), California Kook (Gaffalione) and Red Lark (IRE) (Van Dyke). All starters will carry 121 pounds.