Jet Dark Wins L'Ormarins Queen's Plate at Kenilworth in South Africa and Gains Automatic Berth into FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile Presented by PDJF
Queen Supreme takes Cartier Paddock Stakes to Earn Free Starting Position into Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (Jan. 9, 2021) — C.T. Crowe & N. Jonsson’s 3-year-old Jet Dark (SAF) split horses in the final two furlongs and prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Rainbow Bridge (SAF) in Saturday’s 160th L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse. With this victory, Jet Dark, ridden by Grant Van Niekerk, earned an automatic berth into the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
One race earlier, Mauritzfontein (Pty) Ltd.’s Queen Supreme (IRE) successfully defended her title in the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1), upsetting the previously unbeaten Summer Pudding (SAF), and earned a free berth into the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Now in its 14th season, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into corresponding races of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held this year at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California on Nov. 5-6.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the pre-entry and entry fees for the winners of both races, and also will provide a US$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 pre-entry deadline of Oct. 25 to receive the rewards.
Jet Dark, a bay son of Florida-bred Trippi out of Night Jet (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF), is trained by Justin Snaith, who also saddled the 5-4 favored third-place finisher Belgarion (SAF) and fourth-place finisher Do It Again (SAF), who won the Queen’s Plate in 2019.
Held before no spectators because of COVID-19 restrictions at Kenilworth, a field of eight starters in the Queen’s Plate broke cleanly with Hurricane Harry (SAF) setting the early pace. Jet Dark, off at 6.5-1, stayed in mid-pack just off the rail through the first half-mile. After turning into the home stretch, 6-1 Cirillo (SAF) edged closer to Hurricane Harry, while to their outside Rainbow Bridge and Belgarion were starting to hit their best stride. Then in a burst of speed inside the two-furlong marker, Van Niekerk sent Jet Dark between the fading Hurricane Harry and Cirillo and into the lead. Rainbow Bridge made a final surge, but could not catch Jet Dark at the wire.
In picking up his fourth win in seven starts, and his first Group 1 triumph, Jet Dark completed the 1-mile in 1:38.38. He came into the race after a fourth-place finish in the 1-mile Cape Racing Presents the Cape Guineas (G1) at Kenilworth on Dec. 12. Prior to that, he won the one-mile tabonline.co.za Mr 80 Handicap at Kenilworth on Nov. 28. His first Group stakes score was in the Beaumont Stud Langerman (G3) last July, also at Kenilworth.
While the focus of the 1 1/8-mile Cartier Paddock Stakes was on the 9-for-9 Summer Pudding, dubbed the “Reflection of Perfection,” it was Queen Supreme, trained by Mike de Kock, who reigned once again, storming home down the center of the course in the final furlong under Keagan De Melo. Retaining her title, the 9-4 second choice, Queen Supreme, a 5-year-old chestnut daughter of Exceed and Excel (AUS) out of the Gone West mare Call Later, finished 2 ¼ lengths in front of Clouds Unfold (SAF).
On the turn for home in the 12-horse field, Queen Supreme was in fourth place, eight lengths behind the pace-setting Heart Stwings (SAF), and just ahead of 6-5 favorite Summer Pudding. Steadily, Queen Supreme picked up stride inside the four-furlong marker and forged to the front in the last 200 yards.
Queen Supreme, who completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.32, has won seven races in 13 starts. She came into the race off a 4 ½-length victory in the Computaform Online Pinnacle Stakes at Turffontein on Dec. 12.
Three-time Group 1 winner, Summer Pudding, also owned by Mauritzfontein (Pty), racing for the first time at Kenilworth after picking up all her victories at Turffontein and Greyville, could not sustain a drive to the wire and wound up seventh.
ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media.
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