Princesa Carolina Seeks First Graded Stakes Win in QE II on Saturday

(Princesa Carolina Seeks First Graded Stakes Win in Saturday’s G1 QE II / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

Three Chimneys Farm’s homebred Princesa Carolina will seek her first graded stakes victory in Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End (G1), and trainer Kenny McPeek says she is ready for the challenge. In her most recent start, the Tapit filly scored her first stakes victory with an impressive 1½-length triumph in the Fifth Third Insurance Dueling Grounds Oaks on Sept. 8 at Kentucky Downs.

“Her last race was so powerful that I think she deserves a chance at this level,” McPeek said. “She is a big, strong filly and I think the farther (the distance) the better. I wish the distance was even longer.”

The 1 1/8-mile turf test has attracted a field of nine 3-year-old fillies and is carded as the ninth race with a 5:30 p.m. post.

Prior to the Dueling Grounds Oaks, Princesa Carolina (pronounced Caroleena) was runner-up to QE II entrant Café Americano in the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington Park. She has been second or third in three other stakes. Stabled at Keeneland in McPeek’s Rice Road division, Princesa Carolina tuned up for the QE II with a strong gallop Sunday on Keeneland’s turf course.

“We wanted something long and (relatively) slow,” McPeek said. “She didn’t need a fast workout. She went at a two-minute (for a mile) clip.”

Last year, McPeek was represented in the QE II by Princess Warrior, who finished fourth as the longest shot on the board. In 2017, McPeek nearly earned his first victory in the race when Daddys Lil Darling was beaten a half-length in finishing second.

“It would be big to win,” McPeek said. “We would love to check that box. And Princesa Carolina always gives a big effort.”

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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