Her Emmynency holds off Miss Temple City, upsets Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup
Sentiero Italia, the 3-5 favorite among nine sophomore fillies, wound up a non-threatening third in the prestigious 1 1/8-mile turf race.
After surging to the lead, Her Emmynency came over slightly while clear entering the stretch and Miss Temple City was forced to check along the rail as she was straightening for home with momentum. The connections of Miss Temple City lodged an objection but stewards ruled no cause for disqualification.
Florent Geroux was up on the Michael Stidham-trained winner, who earned her first graded victory. The Successful Appeal filly was exiting a runner-up in the August 15 Del Mar Oaks (G1) and also finished second in last year’s Del Mar Debutante (G1).
“She had two really tough defeats in Grade 1s previously, so this was well deserved for her,” Stidham said. “Florent did a great job.”
Owned by Ike and Dawn Thrash, Her Emmynency’s only unplaced effort versus stakes foes was a sixth in the San Clementine (G2) at Del Mar two starts previously. The bay Kentucky-bred concluded her juvenile campaign with a victory in the grassy Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita and has now earned $540,250 from a 7-4-2-0 record.
Stidham was asked if Her Emmynency is improving.
“I really think so. From two to three, she’s come a long way in maturity,” the trainer explained. “She’s a very nice filly.”
Mizz Money showed speed from the break and Her Emmynency tracked in second, about a length back through opening fractions in :23.40, :47.30 and 1:12.16. The pacesetter threw in the towel midway on the far turn.
Her Emmynency entered the stretch full of run, arriving at the eighth pole with a two-length advantage, but Miss Temple City quickly regained her composure after steadying slightly and came charging on the outside in deep stretch.
The wire arrived just in time for the winner, who stopped the teletimer in 1:48.84 on the firm turf.
“The race went very well,” Geroux said of his trip. “She broke forwardly, and I was able to put her in good position right off the bat. From there, I just sat chilly and waited for horses to make a run at the top of the stretch. When I asked her turning for home, she gave me a good kick and she was very brave all the way to the end.”
Miss Temple City wound up a bit unlucky as 8-1 fourth choice in the wagering, but there were no apparent excuses for Sentiero Italia, who got up late to edge fourth-placer Olorda by a neck on the wire while finishing 2 ¾ lengths back of the runner-up.
A convincing winner of the Sands Point (G2) and Lake Placid (G2), Sentiero Italia was under serious consideration for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) three weeks later at Keeneland but her disappointing performance likely squelches those plans.
None of Saturday’s performers are expected back for the Breeders’ Cup.
Return to Grace wound up fifth and was followed under the wire by 6-1 second choice Blond Me, Prize Exhibit, Feathered and Mizz Money.
Bred by S.D. Brilie L.P., Her Emmynency was purchased by her connections for $115,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September sale. She is the first stakes winner out of the Grade 3-winning Joyeux Daneur mare Chic Dancer and her third maternal dam, Ubetshedid, produced the notable gelding Best Pal, a six-time Grade 1 winner who finished second in the 1991 Kentucky Derby and earned more than $5.6 million.
Her Emmynency (blue silks) photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography