April 12, 2024

Cambier Parc leads all the way in Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup

Cambier Parc wins the QEII Challenge Cup
Cambier Parc wins the QEII Challenge Cup (Coady Photo/Keeneland)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — She hadn’t set the pace in any of her previous seven starts, but Cambier Parc‘s willingness to do so in Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) yielded dividends against an international cast of three-year-old fillies at Keeneland before a sun-splashed crowd of 24,133.

With no apparent speed in the field of nine, trainer Chad Brown and jockey John Velazquez agreed on sending the 9-5 favorite at the start of the nine-furlong turf journey. While not given much breathing space from Magnetic Charm, who was sporting the royal colors of Queen Elizabeth II herself, Cambier Parc was still able to set a manageable pace.

“She relaxed really well,” Velazquez said.

Having plenty of horse underneath after fractions of :23.70, :49.18, and 1:14.41, Velazquez urged Cambier Parc to open up late and she withstood a late challenge from French 1000 Guineas (G1) winner Castle Lady to win by a length. The final time was 1:49.54 on firm ground.

Owned by Larry Best’s OXO Equine and trained by Chad Brown, Cambier Parc paid $5.60. Castle Lady finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of longshot Princesa Carolina, who edged the Brown-trained Cafe Americano by a neck for third. The order of finish was rounded out by Varenka, Regal Glory, Kelsey’s Cross, and Magnetic Charm.

This was the second Grade 1 win in succession for Cambier Parc, who entered Saturday’s race off a 1 1/4-length decision in the Del Mar Oaks (G1). Earlier this season, she captured the Herecomesthebride (G3) and Wonder Again (G3), placed third in the Belmont Oaks (G1) and finished fourth in the Edgewood (G3), the latter two behind sidelined division leader Concrete Rose.

Brown said this was “most likely” Cambier Parc’s final race of the season.

“Going into the race that’s what we were thinking,” said Brown, noting the filly had started her 2019 campaign at Gulfstream on the second day of the year. Her record now stands at 8-5-0-1, $797,460.

Bred in Kentucky by Bonne Chance Farm, Cambier Parc sold for $1.25 million at Keeneland September. She’s by Medaglia d’Oro and out of Canadian Horse of the Year Sealy Hill, by Point Given. Sealy Hill has also reared Grade 2 winner Hillaby and Grade 3 scorers Belle Hill and Gale Force.

Cambier Parc wins the QE II Challenge Cup (Coady Photo/Keeneland)