LEXINGTON, KY – Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s Harvey’s Lil Goil got first jump on the pacesetter and had enough left to hold on for victory in Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
Harvey’s Lil Goil was away well from the rail under Martin Garcia as the 7/2 third choice and soon moved off to run two-wide along the right hip of early leader Sweet Melania.
The two led the other five 3-year-old fillies in the field through opening fractions of :23.89, :47.75, and 1:12.16 until Harvey’s Lil Goil began advancing through the far turn.
Straightening for home with a slight advantage, Harvey’s Lil Goil drew off at the top of the stretch, then had enough left to win by 3/4 of a length while completing the 1 1/8-mile firm turf route in 1:48.72.
“She has a lot of natural speed,” Garcia said. “She’s fast – you can do whatever you want. After the break, I moved outside and she was really comfortable by herself. When it was time to go, I asked and she responded.”
Micheline outkicked the 8/5 favorite Magic Attitude by a 1/2-length for second, with the same gap back to Red Lark in fourth.
California Kook necked out Hendy Woods for fifth and Sweet Melania completed the order of finish.
Antoinette (the winner’s stablemate) and Lucky Betty were scratched.
Harvey’s Lil Goil’s win was her second at the graded stakes level following June’s Regret Stakes (G3) and improved her overall record to 8-4-1-1. The American Pharoah filly has now earned $561,529.
“We were pretty confident with her,” said assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy. “She ran a super race for us at Kentucky Downs (finishing second to Micheline in the Dueling Grounds Oaks) in her last out and had trained really well in between. She’s a little superstar. She pretty much goes on any surface for us. At least in my mind, I think the turf probably is a little bit easier for her to handle.”
Harvey’s Lil Goil returned $9.20 to win, $5.20 to place, and $3.20 to show. Micheline brought back $9.20 to place and $4.40 to show, while Magic Attitude paid $2.40 to show.