November 29, 2021

Shantisara decisive winner of Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup

Shantisara wins the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland (Photo by Coady Photography)

Shantisara gave trainer Chad Brown a record-setting fourth win in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) for three-year-old fillies at Keeneland on Saturday, and did so comfortably under Flavien Prat.

The 5-2 second choice in a field reduced to nine after the gate scratch of Lady Speightspeare, Shantisara was perched in a perfect stalking position in the second flight behind pacesetting stablemate Technical Analysis. The latter carved out splits of :23.91, :48.63, and 1:12.78 over the yielding ground, with 2-1 favorite Empress Josephine in closest pursuit.

Appearing to have plenty of horse underneath at the turn for home, Prat urged Shantisara to go after Technical Analysis and the filly responded emphatically. Shantisara glided past and won going away by five lengths in a final time of 1:48.86 for nine furlongs.

Owned in partnership by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stable, and Robert LaPenta, Shantisara returned $7.

Technical Analysis was a clear second by 1 3/4 lengths over Burning Ambition. The order of finish was rounded out by Nicest, Queen Goddess, Closing Remarks, Cloudy Dawn, Flippant, and Empress Josephine, who failed to respond approaching the stretch and retreated thereafter.

Brown broke a three-way tie between himself and retired Hall of Famer John Veitch and Jimmy Toner for most Challenge Cup victories by a trainer. Brown’s prior winners were Dayatthespa (2012), Rushing Fall (2018), and Cambier Parc. Dayatthespa and Rushing Fall later earned Eclipse Awards as champion turf mares.

A winner in two of five starts in France prior to her importation, Shantisara has won three straight since coming home second best in her U.S. debut, the June 26 Boiling Springs S. at Monmouth Park. Three lengths best in the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington in mid-August over nine furlongs, she went up a quarter-mile in distance for the Sept. 18 Jockey Club Oaks at Belmont Park and prevailed by a half-length. Her record now stands at 9-5-2-0, $788,108.

Bred in Ireland by Oliver Donlon, Shantisara is by Coulsty and out Kharana, by Dalakhani. This female family is also responsible for two-time grass champion High Chaparral.