Background Check: Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup

Prominent sire Munnings traces to the 1991 QEII winner | Coolmore


In this continuing series, we examine the past winners of significant filly/mare races by the lasting influence they've had on the breed. Up today is Keeneland's GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S., a race with a short history but a lengthy reach.

Much has been written in the past few weeks about the christening of the “QEII” and its beginning to honor the late Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Central Kentucky–and Keeneland–in 1984. As such, there have only been 38 runnings and a good third or so of the winners are too young to have yet given a fair representation of their ability as producers.

In spite of the abbreviated list in a sport full of history, a handful of the previous QEII winners have already passed on some very special ability. Following are the some of the most important QEII winners by what impact they have had on the sport through their sons and daughters.

Memories of Silver (1993, Silver Hawk–All My Memories, by Little Current): Who can forget the signature blaze of this wonderful Darby Dan/Galbreath/Phillips mare coming down the stretch in so many top turf contests? Her prowess continued as a producer with four stakes winners, including MGISW Winter Memories and GSW La Cloche. Her descendants in just the last five years have included French MGSW Spinning Memories (Ire), as well as U.S. GSWs Hawkish and Bellavais, plus MSW & MGSP Winter Sunset and GISP Seasons.

Perfect Arc (1992, Brown Arc–Podeica {Arg}, by Petronisi {GB}): Only one daughter produced any foals, but they include 2019 Canadian Horse of the Year and three-time Canadian turf female champ Starship Jubilee, whose nine graded wins on both sides of the border included the 2020 GI Ricoh Woodbine Mile over males. Perfect Arc was bred in New York by Delehanty Stock Farm.

La Gueriere (1988, Lord At War {Arg}–Lady Winborne, by Secretariat): Bred by Wimborne Farm, she kicked off her broodmare career with MGSW & MGISP Lasting Approval and eventually added GISW Icon Project, as well as two other stakes performers. One of the nation's current leading sires, MGSW & MGISP Munnings, is out of a daughter, as is GSW Fashion Business (GB).

Lotka (1983, Danzig–Kennelot, by Gallant Man {GB}): This Kennelot Stables/Henryk de Kwiatkowski homebred produced three black-type winners, including GSW & GISP Lotta Dancing, while her daughters and granddaughters have produced GISW Centralinteligence and GSW Fantasticat, as well as Chilean G1 winners Kurilov (Chi), Kitcat (Chi), Knockout (Chi), Kossimo (Chi), and Kirikina (Chi).

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