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Aaron previews the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, then gives his top picks and longshots. The Belmont Oaks (G1) champion McKulick looks set to give trainer Chad Brown his second straight title in this race – and fifth overall – as she tops the field of 7. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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Klaravich Stables’ McKulick, winner of the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) this summer and most recently winner of the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational (G3), tops a field of seven 3-year-old fillies entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 39th running of the $600,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) Presented by Dixiana.
The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, which is run at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 5:16 p.m. ET post time. First post is 1 p.m.
McKulick is one of two entrants to be trained by Chad Brown, who has won this race four times including 2021 with Shantisara (IRE). Never worse than third in seven career starts, McKulick will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., who accounted for three stakes victories here last Saturday. She will break from post position six.
Brown’s other entrant is Peter Brant’s Gina Romantica. Runner-up in the Pebbles (G3) in her most recent start, Gina Romantica won her grass debut in the Riskaverse (L) in the race prior to the Pebbles.
Flavien Prat has the mount on Gina Romantica and will break from post two.
The field for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, with riders from the rail out, is: California Angel (Rafael Bejarano), Gina Romantica (Prat), She’s Gone (Luis Saez), New Year’s Eve (Tyler Gaffalione), Bellabel (IRE) (Umberto Rispoli), McKulick (GB) (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Paris Peacock (Florent Geroux). All starters will carry 121 pounds.
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