Sentiero Italia seeks to stay hot in Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup
A dead-heat fourth behind Lady Eli when making her stakes debut in the July 4 Belmont Oaks (G1), Sentiero Italia went on to post convincing wins in the Lake Placid (G2) and Sands Point (G2) in her next two starts and the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained daughter of Medaglia d’Oro will bring her imposing form to Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland.
She’s clearly the one to beat among nine sophomores and Sentiero Italia will break from the far outside post with Joel Rosario in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair.
McLaughlin hopes to run Seniero Italia back in the October 31 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Keeneland off a strong showing in the QE2.
Prize Exhibit merits respect after recording a close second versus elders in the September 6 Yellow Ribbon (G2) at Del Mar. Bred in Great Britain, the Showcasing filly was transferred to Jim Cassidy following a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last fall. She posted a couple of nice wins this summer in the Senorita (G3) and San Clementine (G2) and jockey Santiago Gonzalez will be in from California for the mount.
Del Mar Oaks (G1) runner-up Her Emmynency also exits an encouraging performance and Florent Geroux will take over the reins aboard the Michael Stidham trainee. French Group 3 winner Olorda returns from a freshening for new trainer Chad Brown, who removes blinkers and adds Lasix for the German-bred miss. Irad Ortiz Jr. picks up the assignment.
English stakes heroine Blond Me finished second to Sentiero Italia when making her U.S. bow in the September 12 Sands Point and will return for the QE2 along with third-placer Miss Temple City, a stakes winner who will add first-time Lasix for Graham Motion.
Dueling Grounds Oaks heroine Return to Grace will represent a hot Mark Casse stable and Grade 3 queen Feathered promises to show speed for Todd Pletcher. Miss Money, a 14-1 upsetter in the Pucker Up (G3) two back, completes the field.
Sentiero Italia easily winning the Sands Point courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography