10/09/2012 4:27PM

Keeneland notes: Brown has two good shots in Queen Elizabeth II

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Dayatthespa has won her last four starts.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Chad Brown did his best imitation of a Todd Pletcher rampage the last few days, sweeping 2-year-old turf stakes at Keeneland and Belmont Park to further stamp himself as one of racing’s major up-and-coming horsemen.

Brown won the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes here Sunday with Balance the Books, then followed it up Monday at Belmont by taking the Pilgrim with Noble Tune and the Miss Grillo with Watsdachances.

Now Brown has set his sights on another big turf event, albeit one restricted to 3-year-old fillies. He will send out Samitar and Dayatthespa as two of the favorites Saturday in the sixth and final Grade 1 race of the Keeneland fall meet, the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

Samitar, a British-bred imported by Martin Schwartz, comes off a narrow victory as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont. Dayatthespa has won her last four starts, most recently the Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland in April and the Riskaverse during the final week of the Saratoga meet.

“Both fillies are training really well into this, and we’re excited about running them both,” said Brown.

At least eight fillies were expected for the 29th QE II when entries were taken Wednesday, with Stephanie’s Kitten among the other favorites for the 1 1/8-mile turf fixture.

Solid undercard

Aside from the Jessamine Stakes (race 8), the Thursday card should also provide some spirited action in the allowance ranks.

Race 7 marks a return to Keeneland for Scatman and Ever So Lucky, the respective ninth- and 10th-place finishers from the Blue Grass Stakes here in the spring. Ever So Lucky was the beaten favorite on the Laurel Park grass in his last start and now makes an interesting turnback to seven furlongs on Polytrack as part of a full field of 12 in the $54,000, second-level race. Scatman will be making his first start since being turned over to trainer Bill Mott.

Race 5, a $52,000, first-level turf route, also drew a big field with a wide-open look, with Kris Royal and Cantonic among the likely choices.

Only race 2, with nine starters, failed to draw the 12-horse maximum among the nine Thursday races.

Weekend business mixed

While ontrack attendance at the three-day FallStars Weekend was down 11 percent from corresponding dates from last fall, the all-sources handle essentially remained stable with an increase of less than 1 percent.

Figures provided by Keeneland show that attendance totaled 53,355, down from 60,379 in 2011. The gross handle was $29,822,683, up less than $70,000 from last year.

Ontrack handle was $4,075,175, down 14 percent from last year.

Take Charge Indy breezes

Take Charge Indy had his fourth workout since returning from minor ankle surgery when he breezed six furlongs Tuesday morning in 1:14.80 over a fast track at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Pat Byrne said after the work that he is extremely pleased with the progress being made by Take Charge Indy and that he intends to run the colt in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes on Oct. 27, closing day of the fall meet.

Take Charge Indy won the Florida Derby before being injured finishing 19th in the May 5 Kentucky Derby in his only subsequent start.

Franklin County overflows

An oversubscribed field of filly-mare turf sprinters was entered Tuesday for the Friday feature, the $100,000 Franklin County Stakes.

The 5 1/2-furlong race got the first three finishers from the Turf Amazon last month at Parx: Inspired, Bounding Bi, and Sensible Lady, along with such divisional stalwarts as Well Deserved and Maple Forest. It goes as the ninth of 10 Friday races.

Plane reservations made

Buddy Fife, agent for the Tex Sutton Forwarding Co., said three charter flights have been tentatively scheduled for later this month from Louisville to transport Breeders’ Cup runners to southern California. Those dates are Oct. 27, 29, and 30.

A Tex Sutton charter flew Spinster winner In Lingerie and others to California on Tuesday, while another is booked for Monday (Oct. 15) to take the BC hopefuls trained by Dale Romans.

◗ The Georgia-Kentucky football game at nearby Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 20 has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern, it was announced Tuesday, meaning Keeneland can expect thousands of football fans to be at Keeneland for much of the daytime hours.