How to Bet the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup
Rushing Fall schools at Keeneland ahead of Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (c) Keeneland/Coady Photography
by Dick Powell
If you watched her last race, the Lake Placid Stakes (G2) at Saratoga, RUSHING FALL (#8) (7-5) lays over Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) field at Keeneland. She won as easy as she pleased and only a neck separates her from an undefeated record.
Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last year, she captured her seasonal debut in April at Keeneland in the Appalachian Stakes (G2) then just missed in the Edgewood Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. She missed some races you would think she would have run in, so when she went to Saratoga, it looked like her form might be declining. A spectacular stretch run on soft turf showed the folly of that thinking.
What concerns me is that the timing of the QEII, only three weeks to the Breeders’ Cup, makes me suspicious that Rushing Fall will run here and that will be it for the year since trainer Chad Brown likes six to eight weeks between races. Maybe it’s because of the longer 1 3/8-mile distance of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) or maybe trainer Chad Brown is showing a lack of confidence in her. The question is, if we don’t like Rushing Fall, who do we like?
Two of the eight fillies in here were crushed in the Lake Placid so I can’t see them. But NYALETI (#1) (5-1) intrigues me enough to put her on top.
Mark Johnston just broke Richard Hannon Sr.’s British record of 4,194 wins. Not only does he win there but he ships all over Europe and maintains that standard of excellence. Nyaleti is unusual in that when Johnston shipped her to America in August for the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) at Arlington Park, she faced older fillies and mares. The winner that day, Sistercharlie, would be heavily favored in here if allowed to enter, so even though Nyaleti was beaten less than three lengths, this race is for straight three-year-olds and is a class dropdown. She was the victim of a slow pace in the Beverly D. and the last time she faced three-year-old fillies, she won the German 1,000 Guineas (Ger-G2) going a mile by 4 1/4 lengths.
Nyaleti is by Kentucky sire Arch and her dam’s first two foals are major stakes winners on the turf. From post 1, Corey Lanerie can get a ground-saving trip and the turf should be perfect for her.
Leonard Powell, no relation, ships in FATALE BERE (#3) (5-1) off a Grade 1 win going this distance last out at Del Mar. She has a big late kick and Kent Desormeaux is back to try to time it just right. The French-bred filly has shown that she can handle any turf condition and distance of ground.
Finally, Jean-Claude Rouget ships MISSION IMPASSIBLE (#5) (6-1) from France, where she won a Group 2 on soft turf at Deauville two back. The daughter of the legendary Galileo was a good two-year-old there last year when she was second in the Prix Marcel Boussac-Criterium des Pouliches (Fr-G1) behind Wild Illusion, who came back and won the Prix de d’Opera (Fr-G1) last Sunday at Longchamp.
So, the plan is to key #1 and spread out behind her.
Exacta: #3, 5 and 8 with 1
Trifecta Box: #1, 3, 5 and 8