LEXINGTON, Ky. – Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Robert LaPenta’s Shantisara (IRE) rocketed past stablemate Technical Analysis (IRE) at the three-sixteenths pole and drew off for a record-setting 5-length victory in the 38th running of the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana for 3-year-old fillies Saturday afternoon.
Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Flavien Prat, Shantisara covered the 1 1/8 miles on a turf course rated as yielding in 1:48.86. The win gave Brown his record fourth victory in the race following Dayatthespa (2012), Rushing Fall (2018) and Cambier Parc (2019) to break a tie he held with Jimmy Toner and John Veitch.
Today is the second Saturday in a row that Brown has run 1-2 in a Grade 1 race at Keeneland. In the First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare, Blowout (GB) and Regal Glory provided owner Peter Brant and Brown with the exacta.
Technical Analysis led the field of nine through fractions of :23.91, :48.63 and 1:12.78 while under mild pressure from favored Empress Josephine (IRE) with Shantisara and Burning Ambition tracking as a joint third.
As the field turned for home, Prat went right on the attack and wasted little time wresting control and erasing any doubt of the outcome. Shantisara’s margin of victory is the largest in the history of the race, eclipsing the 4½-length victory by Hot Cha Cha in 2009.
“It was a good run. I was really pleased with the draw (post 3), to be honest. I thought the good horses were around me, and I was able to keep tracking them. She made a really good move around the turn – she came really handy around the turn – and when I asked her to make a move she responded well. She broke well and I was able to tuck her in right away and she switched off nice. I was traveling super and, like I said, when it was time to go, she was there for me,” recounted Prat.
Shantisara is a daughter of Coulsty (IRE) out of the Dalakhani (IRE) mare Kharana (IRE). Saturday’s $300,000 winner’s share increased her earnings to $788,108 with a record of 9-5-2-0.
Since joining Brown’s barn in the spring from Europe, Shantisara has won three of four starts with stakes victories coming in the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington Park and the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational at Belmont Park.
Baldo Hernandez, assistant to winning trainer Chad Brown, commented: “I expected her to run really well because (of) the way she breezed last time (5 furlongs in 1:03.40 over the turf at Keeneland a week earlier). She improves all the time. She’s coming along. This filly, she has a really good talent. She handled the turf really well here.”
Shantisara returned $7, $3.80 and $3. Technical Analysis, ridden by Jose Ortiz, returned $4.20 and $3.80 and finished 1¾ lengths in front of Burning Ambition, who paid $6.20 to show under Florent Geroux.
“She broke good, went to the lead and was a little keen early on. We set pretty decent fractions and I had plenty (of horse left) turning for home, but the other horse was just better. My filly was very relaxed (when they had to back the field out of the starting gate). She’s always a little nervous, but actually when they backed them up she was able to stand a little bit behind the gate and she relaxed a little bit better. I have no excuses; she ran her race,” Ortiz explained.
It was another 2¼ lengths back to Nicest (IRE) with Queen Goddess, Closing Remarks, Cloudy Dawn (IRE), Flippant and Empress Josephine following in order. Lady Speightspeare was scratched.
“It was going well until I (asked her for more) and she didn’t go anywhere. She didn’t have it. She didn’t show up today,” Velazquez explained.
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Keeneland Press Release
Photo: Shantisara with Flavian Prat up wins the 2021 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup presented by Dixiana for trainer Chad Brown not present and owners Michael Dubb and Market Stables represented by Anna Seitz and Family.