LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 12, 2017) – Even with her impressive career record on dirt, Daddys Lil Darling, owned and bred by Nancy Polk’s Normandy Farm, always has shown an affinity for the turf. On Saturday, the Scat Daddy filly has the opportunity to prove just how good she is on the surface in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End (G1).
“I never doubted that she would like the turf,” trainer Kenny McPeek said Thursday morning. “She relished being on the turf gallops at my (Magdalena Farm in Lexington.)”
In 12 career starts, Daddys Lil Darling has three wins and four seconds with earnings of $839,405, second among QE II starters behind the $1,360,017 earned by New Money Honey. Her dirt record last year at 2 includes a win in the Pocahontas (G2) at Churchill Downs and a second in the Darley Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland. Earlier this year, she was second in both the Central Bank Ashland (G1) at Keeneland and Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill.
Daddys Lil Darling, a half-sister to 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner Mongolian Saturday, made her turf debut in the Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs in March. She was sixth in that race, which included runner-up and QE II rival La Coronel. After the Kentucky Oaks, Daddys Lil Darling was fourth behind New Money Honey in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1).
After a fifth in Abel Tasman’s Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), Daddys Lil Darling returned to the turf and cruised to a 41⁄4-length victory in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 10.
“That race certainly proved she can win on turf,” McPeek said. “She’s had a really good year. Any time you get checks in high-level races like she has run in, it is a good year. She has eluded winning a Grade 1, but she is certainly in the realm and has a big shot this weekend.”