Ten Things You Should Know: QE II Challenge Cup
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
Originally published on October 12, 2011
1) The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup is a Grade 1 turf race restricted to 3-year-old fillies run at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.
2) The first edition came in 1984 and is named for the Queen of England, who was in attendance for the inaugural running of the race.
3) The race is currently run at a distance of 1 1/8 miles. It was first run at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt but was switched to turf the following year where it has remained ever since. It has been at its current distance of 1 1/8 miles since 1990.
4) The QE II has been graded since 1986. It was upgraded to a Grade 2 in 1988 and has been run as a Grade 1 since 1991.
5) In 2003 Film Maker won the QE II. In the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, she finished second in 2004 and 2006 and third in 2005. She finished behind turf great Ouija Board all three times.
6) Only two QE II winners have gone on to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. 1999 winner Perfect Sting won the second-ever rendition in 2000 and 2012 winner Dayatthespa closed out her racing career with a win in the 2014 rendition.
7) In 2009, Shared Account finished second in the QE II. The following year, she won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at odds of 46-1.
8) In 2007, Dreaming of Anna finished second by 2 ¼ lengths to Bit of Whimsy. Dreaming of Anna was the previous year’s winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly and the Eclipse Award for 2-year-old Filly.
9) The aptly named Collect the Cash paid the biggest win mutuel in 2000. The Joe Orseno trainee paid $52.20. Orseno also trained the previously mentioned Perfect Sting.
10) In 1996, Memories of Silver won the QE II and holds the current stakes record time for 1 1/8 miles (1:45.80). In 2011, her daughter, Winter Memories, attempted to win the same race but finished 4th. Both mother and daughter are owned and were bred by the Phillips Racing Stable and trained by Jimmy Toner.