La Coronel, Dream Dancing have Casse hopeful in QE II
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The last time Mark Casse pitted La Coronel and Dream Dancing against each other, they ran 1-2 in the Edgewood Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs.
Casse wouldn’t mind seeing a similar result Saturday when the John Oxleyowned fillies are rematched in the sixth and last Grade 1 race of the Keeneland fall meet, the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. A field of 11 3-year-old fillies was expected when entries were drawn Wednesday for the 1 1/8-mile turf race.
Since La Coronel won the May 5 Edgewood by a half-length over Dream Dancing, both have raced three times. Dream Dancing became a Grade 1 winner when she got up in the final jump in the Aug. 19 Del Mar Oaks, while La Coronel most recently was second to another QE II starter, Uni, in the Sept. 16 Sands Point at Belmont Park.
“They’re both doing really well,” Casse said. “They’ll be schooled here every day after we move them over Tuesday from Churchill. For whatever reason, La Coronel has been a bit of a nervous wreck since we got her back from England,” where the daughter of Colonel John ran fifth in the June 23 Coronation at Royal Ascot. “It’s something we’re focusing on with her, and we were pretty encouraged by her last race.”
The likely favorite in the 34th QE II is New Money Honey, one of two starters for Chad Brown, along with Uni. New Money Honey won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall and the Belmont Oaks this summer.
The QE II lineup also is expected to include two California shippers, Beau Recall and Madame Dancealot, and two European fillies who arrived early Sunday to the Keeneland quarantine facility, Unforgetable Filly and Wuheida. Besides the Casse duo, who will be uncoupled Saturday for wagering purposes (unlike in the Edgewood), the local contingent includes Con Te Partiro, Daddys Lil Darling, and Proctor’s Ledge.
The Friday feature at Keeneland is the Grade 3, $100,000 Franklin County, a 5 1/2-furlong turf race that was expected to get at least 10 fillies and mares when entries were drawn Tuesday.
Lanerie to winter in New Orleans
Corey Lanerie has been a mainstay in recent winters at Gulfstream Park in Florida, but the Louisiana native will return to his roots this winter.
Lanerie, the perennial leading jockey in recent years at Churchill, said he will ride at the four-month Fair Grounds meet in New Orleans after Churchill ends its fall meet Nov. 26. Lanerie, who turns 43 next month, had ridden at Gulfstream every winter since the 2012-13 meet, compiling an average of nearly 37 wins in those five seasons while usually in the top 10 in the standings.
Torres given a green light
Jockey Francisco Torres has been cleared by his physician to return to riding after recovering from a fractured vertebra suffered in a March 30 spill at Fair Grounds.
Torres, 48, was back galloping horses for the first time Monday at Churchill and is hoping to return to race-riding before the Keeneland meet ends Oct. 28. He has ridden nearly 3,200 winners in a career dating to 1986.
Mile races coming later in meet
Anyone pining for the one-mile dirt races that have been run at Keeneland the last two years will be glad to know that two such races are in the condition book for the final week of the meet, one on Oct. 25 and one Oct. 28).
Working within the circumference of its 1 1/16-mile main track, Keeneland first ran the one-mile races – which use a 70-yard run-up and a short-stretch finish line – at the 2015 fall meet in anticipation of hosting the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
McIngvale ponies up again
There’s extra incentive for students to attend the once-a-meet College Scholarship Day here Oct. 20. Horse owner Jim McIngvale, whose generosity during Hurricane Irma in his hometown of Houston drew universal praise, is funding an additional $10,000 in a single Runhappy Scholarship in addition to the 10 $1,000 scholarships traditionally offered by Keeneland and its co-sponsor, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association.
La Coronel edges stablemate Dream Dancing in the Edgewood at Churchill on May 5.