Dream Dancing and La Coronel – two 3-year-old fillies owned by John C. Oxley and trained by Mark Casse — will face each other in Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane's End (G1) for the first time since their 1-2 finish in the Edgewood (G3) at Churchill Downs on May 5, where La Coronel beat her stablemate by a half-length.
Five months after that race, Casse sees both fillies as having similar talent.
“It's funny, all along when they've ever ran against each other, La Coronel has beat Dream Dancing,” Casse said. “Obviously Dream Dancing's last race (winning the Del Mar Oaks-G1 on Aug. 19) was very good. I think they're pretty equal. Hopefully, if one of them comes with their best race, it will be good enough. It's going to be a very tough race.”
After placing in the Wonder Again (G3) at Belmont, Dream Dancing finished off the board in the Lake George (G3) at Saratoga before traveling to Del Mar to win the Del Mar Oaks by a nose.
“We flew her to California, and honestly the only race that she could have possibly run in would have been the race at Belmont (the Sands Point-G2) that La Coronel was in.,” Casse said about the Tapit filly. “We didn't want to run against each other, plus we didn't want to come back that quickly with her.”
In June, La Coronel traveled to England to contest the Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot, where she finished fifth. Running fourth in the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga, the daughter of Colonel John was most recently second in the Sands Point at Belmont Sept. 16.
La Coronel has won twice over the Keeneland turf, having captured the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) in 2016 and the Appalachian (G3) Presented by Japan Racing Association in April. Dream Dancing was fourth in the Appalachian. Casse hopes that getting La Coronal back onto a course she likes will be a positive influence.
“I find that there are some horses that like Keeneland's course better than others,” he said. “And that was one of the real positives is that she does like Keeneland's turf course.”
The Casse fillies shipped to Keeneland from Churchill Downs Tuesday and visited the main track for the first time Wednesday morning.
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