Irish-bred filly Together won the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Saturday in her second start in the United States.
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Ridden by jockey Colm O’Donoghue, Together was fifth early, trailing Summer Soiree, who went a quarter in 24.53 seconds and a half in 48.57.
The 3-year-old Together, trained by Aidan O’Brien, made her move near the end of the backstretch. Marketing Mix finished second and Nereid made a late run for third.
”I had a great trip,” O’Donoghue said. ”She broke real smart from the gates, showed good speed early and traveled really well throughout. She’s always run at the highest level, and she’s a great filly. She goes on any ground, any surface, and she’s so fast.”
Together, a 9-2 underdog, won the Grade 1 race by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:48.83 for 1-1/8 miles on the turf. She was the runner-up in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 8.
The QE II Challenge Cup is for 3-year-old fillies. Although similar in name, it is a distinct race from the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in England. That race, run earlier Saturday, is a mile race for open company.
The victory boosted Together’s career record to 3-5-3 in 16 starts for owners Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith. Together returned $11.20 for a win bet.
The 7-5 favorite Winter Memories trailed the field in typical fashion but never kicked in with a solid closing run. She finished fourth under jockey Javier Castellano.
”Unfortunately. today she never showed up,” Castellano said. ”Usually. she’s pulling on the backside. but she never pulled. She was kind of empty. She’s been running pretty hard the last couple of races.”