LEXINGTON, KY – OXO Equine’s Cambier Parc proved to be too quick for her foes, taking the field gate to wire to win Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Presented by Lane’s End (G1) at Keeneland.
Breaking smartly from post 3 under John Velazquez as the 9/5 favorite, Cambier Parc found herself on the lead for the first time in her career. With Her Majesty The Queen’s Magnetic Charm tracking her closely from the outside, Cambier Parc posted opening fractions of :23.70, :49.18, and 1:14.41.
Given her cue as she straightened for home, Cambier Parc dispatched of the fading Magnetic Charm and began lengthening her stride in the stretch. Despite a valiant effort from Castle Lady to run her down late, Cambier Parc was too strong. The Chad Brown trainee crossed a length clear in a final time of 1:49.54 for the 1 1/8-mile event over the firm firm turf course.
“When she got to the lead, she relaxed really well,” Velazquez said. “The strategy was … to use her going into the first turn. She relaxed in front. She had plenty to come running in the lane. Once she got to the lead, she relaxed and she opened up a length, a length and 1/2, and she decided to wait for the horses. I had to keep reminding her to keep running. I didn’t want to get surprised by another horse on the outside. I think if another horse got closer, she would have gone again.”
Castle Lady safely secured second by 1 3/4 lengths over Princesa Carolina, who was a neck and a nose over Cafe Americano and Varenka, respectively. Regal Glory, Kelsey’s Cross, and a spent Magnetic Charm completed the order of finish. Lady Prancealot was a trainer scratch.
Cambier Parc’s win was her third in her past four starts, having won the Wonder Again Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park in June and the Del Mar Oaks (G1) in August. The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, purchased for $1.25 million at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, has now earned $797,460 to go with a record of 8-5-0-1.
“We talked about (the race strategy) in the paddock,” Brown said. “There wasn’t a lot of pace in the race. We’ve used her as a lead horse sometimes in her works and she’s good that way. I gave (Velazquez) the option to go to the lead, and he took it. She really responded.
“My team did a great job preparing her here for this race,” he added while stating that Cambier Parc would likely take the rest of 2019 off. “She’s had a long year, starting in (the Edgewood Stakes [G3]) at Gulfstream in the winter. I appreciate (OXO Equine’s) Larry Best giving me the opportunity with this horse. She’s a really well-bred, great-looking horse that anyone would love to have. I’m lucky to have her.”
Cambier Parc returned $5.60 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.80 to show. Castle Lady brought back $4.60 to place and $3.60 to show, while Princesa Carolina paid $5 to show.