LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 12, 2013) – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Kitten’s Dumplings outgamed favored Alterite (FR) by a neck to win the 30th running of the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) for 3-year-old fillies before a Keeneland record fall crowd of 32,717 on a sun-drenched Saturday.
The previous fall single-day mark was 28,880 established on Oct. 7, 2006.
Trained by Mike Maker and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Kitten’s Dumplings was last in the field of nine the first time under the wire as Canadian invader Leigh Court raced off on an uncontested lead.
As Leigh Court led the field through fractions of :23.27, :46.56 and 1:10.55, Kitten’s Dumplings raced seventh in the run down the backstretch. Approaching the far turn, Leparoux swung Kitten’s Dumplings to the outside and began to follow Alterite in their pursuit of Leigh Court.
Leigh Court opened a daylight margin at the eighth pole but Kitten’s Dumplings, who got first run on Alterite, rushed by in deep stretch to complete the 1 1/8 miles on a turf course rated firm in 1:48.43 and give Maker and Leparoux their initial QE II victories.
A Kentucky-bred daughter of Kitten’s Joy out of the Grand Slam mare Granny Franny, Kitten’s Dumplings won for the sixth time in 12 starts and claimed her third graded stakes victory. Saturday’s $240,000 check boosted the filly’s earnings to $691,262.
In finishing second on Alterite, jockey John Velazquez failed to pass Pat Day as the all-time leading jockey by earnings in the U.S. and Canada. Second place was worth $80,000, and coupled with two victories and a third-place finish earlier in the day, Velazquez’s career mounts have earned $297,888,320, just shy of Day’s record total of $297,914,839.
Kitten’s Dumplings returned $11.80, $4.60 and $3.60. Alterite returned $3.20 and $2.60 with Caroline Thomas rallying late to get third a half-length back under Rosie Napravnik and paying $5.20 to show.
Leigh Court finished a half-length back in fourth and was followed in order by Say (IRE), I’m Already Sexy, Emotional Kitten, Sarach and Concise (GB).
Racing continues Sunday with a nine-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m. (ET).