RUSHING FALL SHOULD REIGN IN QUEEN ELIZABETH II,
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The name of one of the opponents for Rushing Fall might be a clue as to what chance they all have: Mission Impassible.
Indeed, the mission for seven other 3-year-old fillies – if their connections all choose to accept it – will be to outrun Rushing Fall, whose brilliant record suggests an upset is improbable Saturday when the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup is run for the 35th time over the Keeneland turf.
Once beaten in six career attempts, Rushing Fall will be heavily favored with Javier Castellano aboard from the outside post in the 1 1/8-mile QE II, the sixth and last Grade 1 race of the Keeneland fall meet.
Rushing Fall is trained by Chad Brown, whose sensational 2018 gained even more momentum last weekend when he won four Grade 1 races, including the First Lady with A Raving Beauty on the Keeneland turf. Owned by the eFive Racing Thoroughbreds of Bob and Kristine Edwards, Rushing Fall won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last November at Del Mar and was a dominating winner of the Grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga in her most recent start in mid-August, earning a career-high 96 Beyer Speed Figure.
Since then, the Kentuckybred daughter of More Than Ready has not missed a beat in her morning training, reeling off six straight workouts in New York, ending with a five-furlong drill last Saturday in 1:00.80 with the dogs up on a yielding Belmont Park turf.
“She really is training well,” said Brown, who said he is unlikely to be here for the race, instead deputizing his assistant Whit Beckman. “We’re expecting another big effort from her.”
One of the main foes for Rushing Fall could be Daddy Is a Legend (post 4, Robby Albarado), who has finished behind Rushing Fall all four times they’ve met. But trainer George Weaver said he will consider scratching Daddy Is a Legend in favor of the Grade 3 Valley View, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies here next Friday.
“We’re not 100 percent committed to this race,” said Weaver. “It’ll be a race-day decision. First, I’m not sure we want to face Rushing Fall again, although the Grade 1 is enticing. But there’s been some give to the Keeneland turf, and that’s probably not to our advantage, and neither is the mile and an eighth. We’ll see how it all shapes up Saturday morning.”
From California, Fatale Bere (post 3, Kent Desormeaux) could emerge as a late threat to Rushing Fall on the assumption that the French-bred filly’s victory last out in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks is proof of substantial improvement since she was fifth last fall in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. Leonard Powell trains Fatale Bere for a multi-tiered partnership.
“She is really good on firm,” said Powell, adding it probably wouldn’t hurt for the course to have some give, owing to the filly’s pedigree.
Mission Impassible (post 5, Florent Geroux) is one of two shippers from Europe in the QE II lineup, along with Nyaleti (post 1, Corey Lanerie).
Mission Impassible, by the great sire Galileo, has raced exclusively in France, winning four of nine starts, all for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget, with a Group 2 victory at Chantilly in early June being her most notable effort.
Nyaleti was a Group 2 winner in Germany in late May but has raced primarily in England. Trained by Mark Johnston, she ran sixth at 38-1 in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park.
Neither of the Euro shippers will be treated with the diuretic Lasix, nor will Princess Warrior (post 2, Brian Hernandez Jr.) or Capla Temptress (post 7, Julien Leparoux).
Capla Temptress, second to Rushing Fall in the Lake Placid, will be making her third start since Bill Mott assumed her training for Team Valor International.
Filling out the QE II lineup is the Maryland shipper Secret Message (post 6, Jorge Vargas Jr.), winner of the Grade 3 Pucker Up on the Arlington Million undercard and most recently second in the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont.
The QE II, first run in 1984 when the queen of England was in attendance at age 58, long has been a major end-of-season goal for horsemen with top 3-year-old turf fillies. No QE II winner has captured the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in the same season, although two have won in subsequent years: Perfect Sting (1999) and the Brown-trained Dayatthespa (2012).
Brown is not pointing Rushing Fall to the Nov. 3 BC Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs because of the longer 1 3/8-mile distance.
The QE II is carded as the ninth of 10 races. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern, with the feature going at 5:30. Three allowances (races 3, 8, 10) are part of a solid undercard. TVG will have extensive coverage on an afternoon expected to draw an ontrack crowd of 30,000 amid mid-50s temperatures and mostly sunny skies.
Rushing Fall, shown training at Keeneland on Wednesday, won the Grade 2 Lake Placid last out.