‘Ledge’ Seeks Grade I Crown in Wide Open QE II

A quick glance at the morning line for Saturday’s GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup is all you need to determine just how competitive the Keeneland feature is, but the depth of the race extends far beyond a surface level with a field of 11 of accomplished sophomore fillies vying for top level success.

‘TDN Rising Star’ Proctor’s Ledge (Ghostzapper) brings a two-race win streak into her first tilt at the highest level, entering off scores in the July 21 GIII Lake George S. and Aug. 19 GII Lake Placid S. at Saratoga. The Patricia Moseley homebred returned to the Bluegrass at the end of September and tuned up with a four-furlong breeze in :48.40 (3/26) over the local main track Oct. 2. Distances of nine furlongs and beyond seem optimal for the bay, who has fared better when allowed to stay closer to the early pace in recent efforts.

e Five Racing’s 4-1 morning line co-favorite New Money Honey (Medaglia d’Oro) gets back on the turf after her connections opted to switch her to dirt for the Aug. 19 GI Alabama S. at Saratoga. The Chad Brown trainee could do no better than fifth that day, but with this return to her preferred surface, she looms squarely as the one to beat by virtue of her two prior Grade I victories in last autumn’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Belmont Oaks Invitational July 8. Hall of Fame pilot Javier Castellano–who has ridden Proctor’s Ledge in each of her last two wins–retains the mount and will need to work out a trip from the widest post in a field of 11.

Brown also sends out Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners, Robert LaPenta and Bethlehem Stables’ Uni (GB) (More Than Ready), third in the Belmont Oaks and second in the Lake Placid prior to recently breaking through with her first Stateside score in the GII Sands Point S. at Belmont Sept. 16.

While Uni receives the benefit of prior experience over American turf, G2 German 1,000 Guineas winner Unforgetable Filly (GB) (Sepoy {Aus}) ships across the Atlantic for the first time in her career. Trained by rising star Hugo Palmer for owner and breeder Rabbah Bloodstock, the bay was a close second in the G3 Nell Gwyn S. and won the Listed Maggie Dickson S. at Musselburgh ahead of a comfortable win in Dusseldorf in June. She adds Lasix off a down-the-field effort in the G3 Sceptre S. at Doncaster Sept. 15.

Mark Casse and owner John Oxley out the pair of GI Del Mar Oaks winner Dream Dancing (Tapit) and three-time graded stakes winner La Coronel (Colonel John). The latter filly is a perfect two-for-two over the Keeneland turf. Normandy Farm homebred Daddys Lil Darling (Scat Daddy) is a intriguing longshot, entering the QEII off a rallying win in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs Sept. 10.

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