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Keeneland Preview & FREE Picks | Queen Elizabeth II Stakes 2023: Elusive Princess Faces Mawj
Elusive Princess winning the 2023 Saratoga Oaks (Gary Johnson/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

Keeneland Preview & FREE Picks | Queen Elizabeth II Stakes 2023: Elusive Princess Faces Mawj

Aaron previews the 2023 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1) from Keeneland, then gives his top picks & long shots.

The Saratoga Oaks (G3) champion Elusive Princess faces top overseas runner Mawj & 10 other 3-year-old fillies on the turf. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The press release:

Godolphin’s Mawj (IRE), a half-sister to champion and two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Modern Games (IRE), headlines a field of 12 3-year-old fillies plus one also-eligible entered today for the  40th running of the $600,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana to be contested Oct. 14 at 1 1/8 miles over the Keeneland turf course. 

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Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Mawj will be making her North American debut in her first start since winning the Qipco One Thousand Guineas (G1) in May at Newmarket in England going a mile. She is undefeated in three races in 2023 with her first two victories coming at Meydan in the United Arab Emirates.

Oison Murphy has the mount on Mawj and will break from post 4.

Looming as a major threat to Mawj is LNJ Foxwoods, Ecurie Victoria Dreams, NK Racing and Anthony Munafo’s Elusive Princess (FR).

Now trained by Arnaud Delacour, Elusive Princess cruised to a 3¼-length victory as the favorite in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3) on Aug. 4 in her North American debut. Group 1-placed in Europe this spring, Elusive Princess will exit post 2 and be ridden by Flavien Prat.

The field for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, with riders from the inside out:

  1. Mission of Joy (John Velazquez)
  2. Elusive Princess (FR) (Prat)
  3. Safeen (Cristian Torres)
  4. Mawj (IRE) (Murphy)
  5. Be Your Best (IRE) (Ricardo Santana Jr.)
  6. Lindy (FR) (Tyler Gaffalione)
  7. Sounds of Heaven (GB) (Shane Foley)
  8. Elounda Queen (IRE) (Luis Saez)
  9. Heavenly Sunday (Florent Geroux)
  10. Liguria (Joel Rosario)
  11. Prerequisite (Irad Ortiz Jr.)
  12. Papilio (IRE) (Javier Castellano)
    Also-Eligible: Freydis the Red (FR) (Brian Hernandez Jr.)

All starters will carry 121 pounds.