Time and Motion heads cast for QE II
LEXINGTON, Ky. – In the infancy of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland, fillies owned by Darby Dan Farm and its affiliates won the race a remarkable five times in a 10-year span.
It has now been 20 years since a filly won the QE II for the Galbreath or Phillips families – who have operated Darby Dan over the years – with Memories of Silver being their last winner in 1996. So, there’s nothing that trainer Jimmy Toner would like to do more than end the drought Saturday with Time and Motion, one of the favorites among a field of nine 3-year-old fillies entered in the Grade 1 turf race.
“The Queen Elizabeth is always on the front burner for Darby Dan and John Phillips,” Toner said in reference to farm owner John Phillips, who is the grandson of Darby Dan founder John Galbreath. “It’s been a long time between drinks for us, so we’d love to get one again if we could.”
Time and Motion, a daughter of Tapit, will be rematched in the 1 1/8-mile QE II with Catch a Glimpse, the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner. In their last meeting Aug. 21, Time and Motion surged late to win the Lake Placid at Saratoga by a neck, snapping an eight-race win streak for Catch a Glimpse.
“I couldn’t ask for our filly to be doing any better coming into this,” said Toner.
From the rail, this is the QE II field: Catch a Glimpse, On Leave, Stays in Vegas, Harmonize, Hawksmoor, Try Your Luck, Time and Motion, Queen Caroline, and Mokat.
As the ninth of 10 Saturday races, the QE II will be part of a late pick-four wager (races 7-10) with a $350,000 pool guarantee.
Belmont Park: Futurity
ELMONT, N.Y. – Theory beat Reckling by 5 1/2 lengths in an $83,000 maiden race at Saratoga on July 30. Eleven weeks later, those two will meet again in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Futurity at Belmont Park.
Only three other horses were entered in the six-furlong Futurity, including Star Empire, third in the Arlington-washington Futurity, who was supplemented to the race by trainer Wesley Ward for owner Belinda Bateman.
Moves Like Ali and The Walk were also entered. The Futurity will go as race 3 on Saturday’s nine-race card.
Theory was being pointed to the Grade 1 Hopeful off his dominant debut win, but the horse was not right in subsequent in training and was sent back to the farm, presumably to be given the remainder of the year off. But diagnostic tests showed only a minor foot issue, and he was sent back to trainer Todd Pletcher after missing about 12 days of training.
Theory has had four workouts leading up to his return, including a five-furlong move in 1:00.50 on Monday over the Belmont Park training track. He worked in company with Pax in Terra, finishing about 1 1/2 lengths in front of that horse at the wire while getting his final quarter in 24.71 seconds. The work was his second at five furlongs.
“We wanted to make sure he did enough to feel good about his fitness level,” Pletcher said. “I thought he did that well, and I think he’ll be ready to go, assuming he comes out of it well.”
Following the Futurity, options abound for Theory, including the two-race series at Aqueduct – the Nashua and Remsen – or the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in late November. Pletcher said the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile also could be in play should Theory “run off the screen” in the Futurity.
Javier Castellano replaces John Velazquez aboard Theory on Saturday. Velazquez is at Keeneland to ride Time and Motion in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.
Reckling came out of that July 30 race to win a six-furlong maiden race on Travers Day at Saratoga by 1 1/4 lengths over Mo Town, who came back to win his maiden impressively here in his next start.
Irad Ortiz Jr. rides Reckling from post 4.
You know the end of turf season is around the corner when trainers are wheeling their horses back in three weeks to run in stakes.
Saturday’s $200,000 Pebbles Stakes at a mile on turf drew a field of 12, including Ancient Secret, Stella Rose, and Thundering Sky, all of whom are coming out of stakes races on Sept. 24.
Ancient Secret won her first four starts before finishing seventh at 3-5 in the Ontario Colleen at Woodbine on Sept. 24. Thundering Sky finished third in that race, while Stella Rose is coming off a fourthplace finish in the Commonwealth Oaks at Laurel.
Ancient Secret drew post 3 for the Pebbles and is one of two horses entered by Chad Brown. He also entered She Doesn’t Mind, who finished second to On Leave in the Riskaverse Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 25. She Doesn’t Mind drew post 12.
The remainder of the field is Enjoy Yourself, Believe in Bertie, Wild About Harry, Ultra Brat, Grade 3 winner Baciami Piccola, Welcoming, Insta Erma, and Louisville First.
Retama: Two juvenile stakes
Retama Park runs its signature races Saturday night, the El Joven and La Senorita stakes. The onemile turf stakes for 2-year-olds are worth $75,000 each.
The El Joven drew a field of 10, including Kielbasa, a maiden special weight winner at Arlington who is coming off a third in the Sunday Silence Stakes at Louisiana Downs.
The La Senorita, for fillies, lured nine, among them Senora Acero and Big Game Baby, who finished second and third in the $75,000 Happy Ticket at a mile on turf last month at Louisiana Downs.