Ultimate Queen Elizabeth Preview: Fast is Fast even on turf

One of my absolute favorite races of all time is the 2011 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes because it showed the value of speed figures--even on turf. For past performances and selections of this year's QE2 and all the races at Keeneland, visit the Blood Horse shop.

The QE2 (on this side of the pond) is a 1 1/8-mile turf race for three-year-old fillies, and Winter Memories entered the 2011 edition of the race as the favorite not only for it but also of race fans everywhere.

Her electrifying, come-from-behind style, had made many fans of hers following Lake George and Garden City Stakes wins that sandwiched a fourth-place finish to eventual Grade 1 winner Hungry Island in the Lake Placid. She entered the QE2 having won four of five in 2011 and six of eight in her career with the only other loss coming when second to Bobby Flay's More Than Real in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Clearly, this was a filly whose class could handle the QE2 field, but could her speed? The numbers said no, and the results agreed.

Winter Memories' had earned a 105 Brisnet Speed Rating in the aforementioned Breeders' Cup race, but as a three-year-old the mid 90s appeared to be her ceiling, and her lone Grade 1 win earned a light 87 Speed Rating.

A Speed rating in the mid 90s might have won the QE2, but she was one of several in the eight-horse field could do that. A 100 seemed more likely to win it but less likely that it'd be Winter Memories who did it. As such, I thought her fair odds to win the race were 9-to-1 (10% chance). As it turns out she was less than a fourth those odds at 7-to-5--a clear case of having to bet against a horse no matter how much the public loved her.

I was bullish in my disdain for her chances, saying that if she won I'd never mention Speed Ratings again. She was last early and passed half the field to get into contention turning for home but stalled in fourth. Irish invader Together won and paid a juicy $11.20 and future Grade 1 star Marketing Mix completed a 42-to-1 exacta with a runner-up finish at 10.9-to-1.

Winter Memories returned as a four-year-old, winning two of three races, including the Grade 1 Diana to end her career. She achieved a 100+ Speed Rating in all three of those starts, but that figures given the extra development, and it doesn't change the fact that she was a bad bet to do so at 7-to-5 7-9 months earlier.

That brings us to this year's QE2, and while there is no obvious throw out who's too slow at a short price, there are several in here who will take too much money off the races they won versus the speed they've gone. For Ultimate Past Performances of this race and all racing at Keeneland, visit the Blood Horse shop.

The lone Grade 1 winner in the field is Alterite, a Group 1-placed in Europe filly who won her American debut in the Garden City, and unlike Winter Memories coming out of that race into this one two years ago, Alterite has Speed Ratings that fit among most of these, but like Winter Memories, they're still not good enough to warrant taking a short price.

Say is interesting because of the similarities to Together, who won this race two years ago after making her American debut against elder females in the First Lady. Like Together, Say didn't run much there and wheels back in a week. Based on the Class Ratings, Say fits with these on her Group 1-placed form, and while her 88 Speed Rating in the First Lady won't win this, she did make a nifty move on the backstretch before calling it a day suggesting some current form.

By far the most interesting entrants in here are on the outside with #8 Leigh Court and #9 I'm Already Sexy. The former has a Class Ratings edge over all but Say while the latter is the only filly with a 100+ Speed Rating in the field, and she's done it twice! At 10- and 8-to-1, respectively, these two are must uses.

In fact, I think the price is right on all three that I'm not looking any further. It's a gamble because yes, horses like Alterite and any of the other 5 are capable of winning this race. I.e., no one will be shocked if Kitten's Dumplings wins, but she's less likely to me than the three I like most but will be among the favorites. I'm not interested in betting horses like that.

We had a three-way tie for first in my Press Your Luck-inspired contest last week with Monarchos Matt (Power Broker), Chare889 (No Jet Lag), and Plodboy Phil (Beertent Baby). If you won, please e-mail Blood Horse and ask to get in touch with me. I will round up on the $100 prize and pay you each $34 instead of $33.34.

As for this week's contest we'll focus on the QE2 since that's the only race I discussed. The goal is to pick the order of finish for the QE2 without being wrong. You can go as deep as you want, but if you miss a position then you lose no matter what.

For instance, let's say you pick 1. Caroline Thomas, 2. Say, and 3. I'm Already Sexy and someone else picks 1. Caroline Thomas, 2. Say, and that's it. If the order of finish is Caroline Thomas-Say-Leigh Court then the second person would win because the first person lost by having I'm Already Sexy in third.

You can ADD to your order if someone else does the same picks as you, but you cannot CHANGE your picks. I.e., if you pick SAY and that's it and a bunch of other people pick Say, and you want to add to it then you can post again with SAY in first and whomever you want in second (third, fourth, etc.).

$100 to the winner unless someone gives out the cold superfecta. Then you get $200. I'll give $1,000 if someone gives out the exact order of finish (at least seven must start).

Good luck, and for Ultimate Past Performances to help you handicap all of Keeneland's races, visit the Blood Horse store.


Leave a Comment:

Pedigree Ann

One also has to take into consideration that the Garden City was run like a Euro race - slow early and fast late. Fractions of 25.35, 50.78, 1:15.49, 1:39.09, 1:50.55, meaning quarters of 25.35, 25.43, 24.71, 23.60, 11.46. This on a firm turf course.

If there are any speed horses who go a second or two faster than this early, Alerite may not be close enough to the front for her closing kick to matter. Something to consider.

11 Oct 2013 10:44 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Two things from the end of last week:

- I'm investing in the SA 49 Blues and Silvers today

- there's a 'black' filly in the 8th at Belmont today

11 Oct 2013 3:09 PM

Hello Im new to the blog and have a question.Who is the person that writes this blog?

11 Oct 2013 6:19 PM
Mary Zinke

QE II Contest:

I'm Already Sexy

Kitten's Dumplings

Emotional Kitten

Caroline Thomas

Leigh Court






QUAZI etc, Ed De Rosa.

11 Oct 2013 8:30 PM
Plod Boy Phil


Are you sure about those 5th and 6th spots ?

12 Oct 2013 10:20 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Belmont Race 8

10 Able Baker Charlie (30-) - may catch his first Closers Flow since last March today following his 'Neutral or Better Win' for us last out. Too good now to pass up at anywhere near the ML.

12 Oct 2013 10:41 AM
Mary Zinke

Must have been, Phil.  Took a chance.

12 Oct 2013 11:07 AM
Plod Boy Phil

I guess I should have used a smiley face....

12 Oct 2013 11:48 AM

Have been having a rough meet at Keeneland.  

Like the #7 (Mandola) in the 6th as a value play.

12 Oct 2013 11:53 AM
Mary Zinke

No, I got ya. I also used an invisible smiley face.

Where are all of the picks; it must be almost noon back East.

12 Oct 2013 11:54 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Good question....I'll be putting in a Contest selection.  

12 Oct 2013 12:20 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Keeneland, R8 6 Maco Light

First and foremost, she was very impressive from a Flow perspective.

In video, it sure looked like she figured it all out pretty quickly down the backside of her debut when soon settling comfortably despite the discomfort of being pinned in tight quarters on the rail.

She'll have to show my bankroll that she's not unusually talented.

12 Oct 2013 12:26 PM
Plod Boy Phil

QEII Challenge

W: Alterite

P: Concise

12 Oct 2013 2:21 PM

QEII Challenge

W: Kitten's Dumplings

12 Oct 2013 2:30 PM
Plod Boy Phil

I played that poorly

12 Oct 2013 2:42 PM
Mary Zinke

That's who The Famous Jessie likes, Derby Gal.

12 Oct 2013 2:47 PM
Little Bill


W: Caroline Thomas

12 Oct 2013 2:53 PM
Monarchos Matt

QE II Challenge:

1) Say

12 Oct 2013 3:00 PM

The Famous Jessie ???

Thought I would get a little practice for the B.C. Turf Route Races yesterday, really liked the 10 in race 8, at ,Santa Anita, distance 1 1/8, track firm.

12 Oct 2013 3:12 PM

Wow! What a contest! Thanks for hosting this, Ed!

I'll take a shot at the cold superfecta:

1 I'm Already Sexy

2 Kitten's Dumplings

3 Alterite

4 Emotional Kitten

12 Oct 2013 3:44 PM

I will take Emotional Kitten in the QE challenge.

12 Oct 2013 4:54 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Despite having just last week reminder rusty next door about some 2yos being bigger and faster than others and that betting much slower MSW winners against vastly superior MSW winners and above is detrimental to one's bankroll, I did exactly that.  Lesson learned, again.

12 Oct 2013 5:07 PM
Plod Boy Phil

derbygal wins again

12 Oct 2013 5:25 PM
Little Bill

Congrats DGal

12 Oct 2013 5:30 PM

I think you won alone DGal,just curious why did you pick Kittens Dumplings?

12 Oct 2013 6:01 PM
Monarchos Matt


If you were expecting a hot pace, she was the obvious choice. I'm surprised they went as fast as they did, :46.3 for the half I believe? Anyone close to it got fried, although Leigh Court hung on pretty well all things considered. My horse was placed tactically just like I wanted her to be but that pace was just too much and she flattened. Kittens' Dumplings- Alterite exacta seems logical to me considering how the pace played out.

Congrats DerbyGal. These contests are quite, um, fun and generous I would say....

12 Oct 2013 6:38 PM
Mary Zinke

Derbygal, this is The Famous Jessie, my firstborn, and she was delighted that Kitten's dumplings won today. She was at an ice skating lesson and missed the race.  We'll be at the BC races again this year.

12 Oct 2013 8:40 PM
Mary Zinke

And, congrats, Derbygal!

12 Oct 2013 8:41 PM

Well done, Derbygal! E-mail Blood Horse to have you get in touch with me for your $100.

Mary Zinke: Thanks for going for the $1,000

12 Oct 2013 9:28 PM
Mary Zinke

Your contests are fun, Ed.

12 Oct 2013 9:44 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Is it me, or did Alterite makes at least three different moves in the race?

13 Oct 2013 11:06 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Keeneland Race 5

8 Bell By the Ridge (4-1) was vs an Extreme for Speed in his last. Will likely be very well placed in a race with little speed.

13 Oct 2013 12:44 PM

Congratulations to Derbygal! Good pick!

Ed, thanks again for hosting these contests. Having a prize on the line really adds a bit of excitement to the weekend!

13 Oct 2013 1:19 PM

Blogmaster or Mr Ed thats your name right, thanx for the contest.DGal I hope you are around to receive your congratulations and to answer a simple question(if you dont mind)Why did you choose Kittens Dumplings? that was one of two entered by Ramsay and if you see I chose the other entry and I had a particular reason for picking one of these two.

13 Oct 2013 1:35 PM

Thanks to all.

Why did you choose Kittens Dumplings? that was one of two entered by Ramsay and if you see I chose the other entry and I had a particular reason for picking one of these two.

QUAZIDOMINSTAT 13 Oct 2013 1:35 PM

I liked her running style.

14 Oct 2013 1:18 PM

Ok dont spend it all in one bet,on the other hand you are lucky so maybe that is bad advice.

15 Oct 2013 1:47 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Alright, breaks over.

Thursday Keeneland Race 7

3 Hard Aces had none chance when wide in last behind the w-w winner of an Extreme for Speed.

17 Oct 2013 2:17 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Belmont Race 8

2 Sky Blazer need only a fair Flow today after three straight 'no chance' races.

17 Oct 2013 4:26 PM

Recent Posts

More Blogs