Mrs. C.M. Cook and Mrs. J.L. Van Buynder Et Al’s 3-year-old filly Foxplay (AUS) powered to the front in last 100 meters and held off Zanbagh (AUS) by a half-length to win Saturday’s one-mile $ 1 million Coolmore Legacy Queen of the Turf Stakes (G1) at Royal Randwick, and earned an automatic berth into Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held for the first time at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club near San Diego, California, on November 3-4.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the connections of Foxplay to start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which will be run at 1 3/8 miles. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a $ 40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of Oct. 23 to receive the rewards.
Trained by Chris Waller, who just two races earlier saddled the super mare Winx (AUS) to win the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1), Foxplay (7.5-1) became the first 3-year-old filly to win the Coolmore Legacy since Forensics (AUS) in 2008. A grey daughter of Foxwedge (AUS), Foxplay garnered her first Group 1 victory, and her fourth career win in 11 starts.
Breaking for post 10 against 16 rival fillies and mares, Foxplay stayed close to the pace in fourth place through the 1000-meter mark on the outside of pacesetters First Seal (AUS), the 4-1 favorite Silent Sedition (AUS) and Dixie Blossoms (AUS). With 300 meters remaining McEvoy angled Foxplay to the outside, and she hit top gear, passing Dixie Blossoms as Silent Sedition and First Seal faded. Foxplay continued strongly through the finish, staying just in front of the fast closing Zanbagh (20-1). Dixie Blossoms finished a half-length back in third followed in order by Silent Sedition, Oregon’s Day (AUS), First Seal, Euro Angel (NZ), Diamond Made (AUS), Jessy Bell (AUS), Heavens Above (AUS), Real Love (AUS), Abbey Marie (AUS), Danish Twist (AUS), Pure Pride (NZ), Extensible (AUS); Elle Lou (AUS) and Rising Romance (NZ). Alaskan Rose (NZ) was scratched.
Foxplay completed the one mile in 1:39.65 over a course listed as soft.
“Foxplay has been a very special horse to us, we call her the Winx junior, there are lots of similarities,” Waller said afterward to the Sidney Morning Herald. “She started off with a winning bang and has sort of been a little bit forgotten, had a few hard luck stories go against her and funnily enough has run in the same races as Winx. I decided not to run Foxplay in the (Australian) Oaks because I still think she has some brilliance and speed so fortunately we got away with it.”
“It was a lovely win by this filly, she’s just done a great job,” McEvoy said. “I wanted to be a bit closer with the lack of speed in the race, I gave her a kick out of the gates and she was much closer than I thought I’d be. I was wide but full credit to the horse she did a good job, I just had her travelling and she picked up well. She deserves a Group 1, she’s just a little star.”
Foxplay returned to her most accustomed shorter distances today after a fourth-place finish in the 1½-mile Vinery Stud Stakes (G1) at Rosehill on March 25, as the 14-5 favorite. Foxplay won the 7 ½-furlong Celebrations Phar Lap Stakes (G2) against 3-year-old fillies at Rosehill on March 11. Last September, she scored consecutive sprint stakes wins at Randwick in the 6-furlong Fast and Furious (G2), and in the 7-furlong Tea Rose Stakes (G2). Foxplay opened 2017 at Randwick with a second-place finish to Global Glamour (AUS) in the Light Fingers Stakes (G2) against 3-year-old fillies at 6 furlongs.
Watch the race replay here.
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