Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup 2021 Entries: Empress Josephine runs back ...

Trainer Aidan O'Brien has a lifetime of experience in this business ... he send Empress Josephine back to Keeneland for another try in the QEII Cup.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien has a lifetime of experience in this business ... he send Empress Josephine back to Keeneland for another try in the QEII Cup.

Keeneland Race 8 16:44 ET

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One of the most celebrated races coming into the weekend at Keeneland is The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. With a historic connection to Her Majesty, this a Grade 1 contest by invitational only that brings together a fairly evenly-matched field of young fillies. On the turf, many of these participants are looking to notch their 1st “signature win.” Most bettors will be looking at Aidan O’Brien’s Empress Josephine #4, who is running back after she competed in last week’s First Lady (G1) at Keeneland last weekend (she was 3rd at a mile). Of course, there was a time in the sport of horse racing when that was quite common. However, in the 21st century it is less so, with concerns of overwork and abuse. O’Brien is a master when it comes to assessment, so his vigilance is without question. He is going to face his son Donnacha (a trainer in his own right), who brings Nicest #5 into this spot. Both of these runners have experience in Group competition. One other Euro who looks intriguing is William Haggis’ Cloudy Dawn #9. The seasoned conditioner has a history of entering select races. He tabs local hot rider Brian Hernandez to guide his filly.

When it comes to the American contingent that is present, Chad Brown comes with a strong hand. He has the uncoupled entry of Technical Analysis #2 and Shantisara #3 ready for action. These runners are owned by 2 of his best clients, Klaravich and Dubb/Madaket. Both have “key” performances under their saddles. We shouldn’t overlook the ability of Roger Attfield’s presence at Keeneland. He has been a fixture here for many years, and regularly brings his Woodbine team to Central Kentucky. This time around it is Lady Speightspeare #7 who enters with her perfect record of 3/3. Emma Jayne-Wilson rides this filly who won the Natalma (G1) at her home track up in Toronto. Rounding out this field are some other entries that could be “stayers,” like Brad Cox’s Burning Ambition #1, Mike McCarthy’s Queen Goddess #6, Vicky Oliver’s Flippant #8, and Carla Gaines’ Closing Remarks #10. Possibly the storyline that will receive the most attention is the weather. With 80s turning to 60s, plus over an inch of rain in the forecast, how will the Haggin Course set-up? That is the major question … Those that enjoy some “give” are going to get it.

Check out my selections for this race, which is included in the Late Pick 4, plus all the rest of the card … it is a Saturday at Keeneland!

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