LEXINGTON, KY – e Five Racing Thoroughbred’s Rushing Fall took control heading into the first turn and fended off all comers in the stretch before running away regally in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Presented by Lane’s End at Keeneland.
Breaking well from post 8 under Javier Castellano as the prohibitive 2/5 favorite, Rushing Fall outhustled Fatale Bere heading into the first turn and secured command before relaxing and posting comfortable fractions of :23.91, :49.22, and 1:14.82. Running a lane off the rail throughout the race almost proved dangerous as she straightened for home because the European invader Nyaleti made a bid along the inside. Meanwhile, fellow overseas shipper Mission Impassible chose to go three-wide as she drove to the front. The “Turf Rocket,” however, refused to yield and dug in gamely, repelling both foes before drawing off late. The Chad Brown trainee crossed the wire with a 1 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:50.42 for the 9-furlong event over the firm turf course.
“She’s a good filly,” Castellano said. “We discussed with the owner, Mr. Edwards, and Chad Brown how (I) can ride the horse in the race. We handicapped the race. I didn’t see much speed. That’s the reason I dictated the pace with slow fractions. She’s just a good filly. I just enjoyed the ride and am very lucky and blessed to enjoy those kind of horses.”
Though she failed to maintain her stretch run, Mission Impassible proved to be much of the rest, outfinishing Nyaleti for second by 4 3/4 lengths. Princess Warrior took fourth over Capla Temptress, with Secret Message and a misfiring Fatale Bere completing the order of finish. Daddy Is a Legend was scratched.
Rushing Fall’s win was her third in as many starts at Keeneland, including the Grade 3 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes as a juvenile and the Grade 2 Appalachian Stakes to kick off 2018. The 3-year-old daughter of More Than Ready improved her overall record to 7-6-1-0 with earnings of $1,308,000.
“The filly’s phenomenal,” said owner Bob Edwards. “We’ve had an unbelievable run with her. Super happy to be here at Keeneland. It’s all about the team. I had a Hall of Fame rider give a Hall of Fame ride. An unbelievable filly picked by (bloodstock agent) Mike Ryan, trained by Chad Brown – the connections are phenomenal.”
Rushing Fall returned $2.80 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. Mission Impassible brought back $5.60 to place and $3.40 to show, while Nyaleti paid $3.40 to show.