LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Estate of Harvey Clarke and Paul Braverman’s Harvey’s Lil Goil grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch and then held off all challengers to win the 37th running of the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana for 3-year-old fillies by three-quarters of a length over Micheline.
Trained by Bill Mott and ridden Martin Garcia, Harvey’s Lil Goil covered the 1 1/8 miles on a turf course rated as good in 1:48.72. The victory is the second in the race for Mott, who saddled Crown Queen to victory in 2014.
Kenny McCarthy, assistant to trainer Bill Mott, stated: “We were pretty confident with her. She ran a super race for us at Kentucky Downs (finishing second to QE II runner-up Micheline in the Sept. 10 Dueling Grounds Oaks) in her last out and had trained really well in between. She’s a little superstar. She pretty much goes on any surface for us. At least in my mind, I think the turf probably is a little bit easier for her to handle.”
On the Breeders’ Cup: “I read a comment that Mr. Mott wasn’t ruling anything out. I’ll leave it at that.”
Sweet Melania set the pace with Harvey’s Lil Goil lapped on her outside through fractions of :23.89, :47.75 and 1:12.16. The two hit the top of the stretch as a team only to have Harvey’s Lil Goil quickly spurt away and open a daylight advantage.
Favored Magic Attitude (GB) made the first run at her and then Micheline finished fastest of all to grab second but unable to catch Harvey’s Lil Goil. The result reversed the finish of the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs Sept. 10 when Micheline prevailed by a neck.
“She has a lot of natural speed. She’s fast – you can do whatever you want. After the break, I moved outside and she was really comfortable by herself. When it was time to go, I asked and she responded,” Garcia said.
Bred in Kentucky by Clarke, Harvey’s Lil Goil is a daughter of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah out of the Tapit mare Gloria S. The victory was worth $300,000 and increased Harvey’s Lil Goil’s earnings to $561,529 with a record of 8-4-1-1.
Harvey’s Lil Goil paid $9.20, $5.20 and $3.20. Micheline, ridden by Florent Geroux, returned $9.20 and $4.40 and finished a half-length in front of Magic Attitude, who paid $2.40 to show under Javier Castellano.
It was another half-length back to Red Lark (IRE), who was followed in order by California Kook, Hendy Woods and Sweet Melania.
Darley President Jimmy Bell commented about Godolphin’s runner-up, Micheline: “This is a big step up in class – a very deep field. She just continues to get stronger and has developed over the spring and summer. These Grade 1 races are very tough, but she was gallant. She was full of run at the end. It was a great effort. Except for not getting our picture taken (in the Winner’s Circle), we are very excited. There are some really good fillies in here, and this gives us an idea of where we rank with them.”
Click here for a replay of the race and the post-race interview with winning connections.
Racing continues Sunday with a nine-race program beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET. Keeneland will offer a Pick 6 carryover of $34,998.45 and a Super High 5 carryover of $58,378.55.
Keeneland Entries for Sunday, October 11
Photo: Harvey’s Lil Goil. Credit: Keeneland/Coady