Lael Stables’ Magic Attitude (GB), the likely favorite for Saturday’s 37th running of the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana, arrived at Keeneland Tuesday morning following an overnight van ride from the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.
A Group 3 winner as well as a Group 1 runner-up this year in France, Magic Attitude dazzled in her U.S. debut, winning the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) on Sept. 19 by 2¼ lengths with a last-to-first move in the stretch.
“I was thinking they are going slow and they are all going to kick,” trainer Arnaud Delacour said of the 1¼-mile race. “It was a good effort from her and I think she appreciated the firm ground.”
The 1 1/8-mile Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup comes three weeks after the victory at Belmont, repeating a time frame Magic Attitude had this summer between her runner-up finish at Chantilly in France in the Saxon Warrior Coolmore Prix Saint Alary (G1) and fifth-place finish in the Prix de Diane (G1).
“It probably will be her last race of the year, and the question is the three weeks (between races),” Delacour said. “Will she bounce back well? So far, she has been showing all the right things, and she had a nice maintenance move the other day (a half-mile in :51 on the dirt at Fair Hill).”
Also arriving Tuesday morning was Lael Stables’ Chalon, who is entered in Friday’s 24th running of the $150,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3) going 5½ furlongs on the Keeneland turf course.
The 6-year-old mare, who has compiled a 22-9-8-1 record for earnings of $991,895, will be making her turf debut in the Buffalo Trace Franklin County.
At Keeneland, Chalon has three runner-up finishes in four Grade 2 races on Keeneland’s main track in her career. She was scratched from Saturday’s Skipat (L) at Pimlico.
“We have always wanted to try her on the grass and there is no better place to try than here at Keeneland,” Delacour said.
Press Release Keeneland/ Coady Photo