December 4, 2021

Brown takes two shots at record fourth Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup

Technical Analysis wins the Lake George Stakes (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) — Race 8 (4:44 p.m. ET)

Chad Brown will take two shots at breaking a three-way tie for winningest trainer in the history of the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland on Saturday when he saddles Technical Analysis and Shantisara in the 1 1/8-mile grass test for three-year-old fillies.

Both fillies enter the race with the wind currently at their sails. Technical Analysis has won three of four starts this year, including back-to-back victories over the summer in the Lake George (G3) and Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga.

Shantisara has won two of three since her arrival from France, taking the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington and the Jockey Club Oaks at Belmont in her last two starts.

Brown is currently tied with Hall of Famer John Veitch and Jimmy Toner for most Challenge Cup wins with three. Brown’s winners include future champions Dayatthespa (2012) and Rushing Fall (2018), and Cambier Parc (2019).

The European contingent is especially strong this year. Empress Josephine, the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) heroine, wheels back in just seven days after finishing one-length third to older rivals in the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland. She will add blinkers and upgrades to John Velazquez, a five-time winner of the QE II.

Nicest shortens up from longer races earlier this summer. Trained by Joseph O’Brien, the daughter of American Pharoah finished third in the Ribblesdale (G2) and Irish Oaks (G1), both over 1 1/2 miles.

The third foreign invader is Cloudy Dawn, a William Haggas-trained gray who enters off a win in the Prix de Lieurey (G3) at Deauville over Just Beautiful, subsequent winner of the Sceptre (G3) at Doncaster.

The regally-bred Canadian champion Lady Speightspeare makes only her second appearance under colors this year on Saturday. Victorious last season in the Natalma (G1), the undefeated filly was off nearly a year before returning to post a two-length allowance win at Woodbine on Sept. 6.

The remainder field includes Virginia Oaks winner Flippant; Del Mar Oaks (G1) runner-up Closing Remarks; Burning Ambition, whose current four-race win streak includes a seven-length romp in the Indiana Grand S.; and stakes newcomer Queen Goddess.