David Carroll, Keeneland assistant to trainer Mark Casse, reported John C. Oxley's La Coronel is doing well Sunday morning after her front-running victory in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane's End (G1) yesterday for her third Keeneland stakes win.
Stablemate Dream Dancing, who finished seventh in the 10-horse field for Oxley, also exited the race well, he said. The two fillies will return to Casse's base at Churchill Downs within the next couple of days.
“Both ate up their feed and jogged sound today, so we were very pleased,” Carroll said.
“(The decision on their next races) will be left up to Mr. Oxley and Mark, they'll talk about it,” he added. “Obviously this was one of our main objectives, to win a Grade 1 with (La Coronel), and she's accomplished that.”
La Coronel won the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) at Keeneland in 2016 and the Appalachian Presented by Japan Racing Association (G3) in April. The QE II was her first win since the Edgewood (G3) at Churchill Downs on May 5 before she traveled to England and finished fifth in the Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot. Upon her return to the U.S., La Coronel ran fourth in the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga and was most recently second in the Sands Point (G2) at Belmont Sept. 16.
“Keeneland is certainly her favorite course,” Carroll said. “And she had settled in well, schooled good in the Paddock the last couple of days, and she seemed more relaxed and more familiar with her surroundings. (Jockey) Jose (Lezcano) gave her a beautiful ride and she got to set her own pace, but she kicked awfully hard and it was just a tremendous performance.”
La Coronel gave Casse his third stakes win of the Fall Meet. On Oct. 6 opening day, he won the Darley Alcibiades (G1) with Heavenly Love – a homebred for Oxley's wife, Debby. He sent out John Oxley's Flameaway to win the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) a week ago.
On Twitter, trainer Kenny McPeek said he was pleased with Normandy Farm's homebred Daddys Lil Darling's game runner-up effort: “Extremely proud of her. She's traveled the world and always gives every effort. Total class. Deserves Grade 1 win, her 4th second today. So close. Appreciate the support from everyone.”
As the fifth betting choice in the QE II, Daddys Lil Darling raced just behind the moderate pace set by La Coronel. She chased the leader through the stretch and came within a half-length of winning.
Daddys Lil Darling has been second best in four Grade 1 events, including this year's Central Bank Ashland and Kentucky Oaks. With three victories and five seconds in 13 starts, she has earned $939,405.
Madam Dancealot (IRE) and Beau Recall (IRE), the respective third- and fifth-place finishers, for Slam Dunk Racing, are scheduled to return to Southern California on Monday.
Trainer Richard Baltas indicated via text that Madam Dancealot came out of the race well and would be pointed to the $300,000 American Oaks (G1) at 1¼ miles at Santa Anita on Dec. 30.
Beau Recall, who is co-owned by Medallion Racing, will be given a little break, according to trainer Simon Callaghan via text.
Trainer Chad Brown's two runners, Uni (GB) and New Money Honey, the respective fourth- and sixth-place finishers, were scheduled to return to New York today.
“So far so good this morning,” said Baldo Hernandez, Brown's assistant at Keeneland. “They will go back to New York and regroup.”
The Brown barn, which accounted for Wednesday's JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3) with Rushing Fall, is not done for the meet.
“We still have Dolce Lili for the (Pin Oak) Valley View (G3) on Friday,” Hernandez said of the Don Alberto Stable filly who will be making her stakes debut.
Trainer Brendan Walsh said eighth-place finisher Proctor's Ledge was done for the year.
“She's good this morning,” Walsh said of the Patricia Moseley homebred. “We will back off and get ready for next year. She was just a little flat yesterday at the end of a long year.”
Trainer Wesley Ward said Hat Creek Racing's Con Te Partiro exited her ninth-place finish in good order, and he is debating between the $100,000 Cardinal (G3) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 18 or stopping for the year with the daughter of Scat Daddy.
Unforgetable Filly is scheduled to return home to Europe after finishing last of 10.
“Had she won we were going to the Breeders' Cup, but that is definitely out of the question now,” said Bruce Raymond, representing owner Dr. Ali Ridha.
“Of course we were a little disappointed,” Raymond continued. “I thought she had the perfect position throughout, and you could see in the top bend that she wasn't going to finish. This filly usually picks up well. She prefers the ground to be like a road and when (jockey) Josephine (Gordon) walked the track she felt that it was kind of shifty underneath her, which, while she's had that surface before, even last time (in her previous race), she just doesn't pick up her tune. It happens.”
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