Champions Day: Solow goes for nine straight in QEII
Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II (G1) (9:30 a.m. EDT) might give us our long-awaited showdown between Solow and Gleneagles – or not, if Gleneagles takes his toys and goes home when the ground is deemed unsuitable. Either way, Gleneagles is still on course for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
Solow has racked up an eight-race winning streak, the last four in Group 1s – the Dubai Turf (G1), Prix d’Ispahan (G1), Queen Anne (G1) over this course and distance as well as the Sussex (G1). Freshened since that July 29 mile at Glorious Goodwood, the big gray should enjoy any give in the ground here.
His most significant challenges figure to come from the three-year-old set, even aside from English/Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) and St James’s Palace (G1) star Gleneagles. Kodi Bear has burst onto the scene with romps versus his elders in the Sovereign (G3) and Celebration Mile (G2). Territories, runner-up to Gleneagles at Newmarket, has since won the Prix Jean Prat (G1) and finished second to Esoterique in the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1).
But the most interesting price play is sophomore Elm Park, who’s a perfect four-for-four at a mile, including last season’s Royal Lodge (G2) and Racing Post Trophy (G1). Third to Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs in his seasonal reappearance in the Dante (G2), Elm Park flopped in the Derby (G1), took the summer off, and returned with a victory in the Fortune at Sandown. Trainer Andrew Balding had his choice of targets on Champions Day, and I suspect he picked the right one.
The five-year-old mare Integral has had a disappointing season compared to her 2014, but the Sir Michael Stoute revived with a bang-up second to Esoterique in the Sun Chariot (G1) last out. If the good Integral shows up in her career finale, she can make the frame.