The connections of Miss World say they are confident their filly will prove her first Grade I victory was the result of her talent and not a rival's misfortune when she faces another Grade I field on Saturday at Keeneland.
After pulling an upset in the Grade I Garden City Stakes at Belmont on Sept. 12, Miss World goes for her fourth straight win and second graded stakes victory in the Grade I, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup over 11⁄8 miles on the Keeneland turf.
Though Miss World ran away for a 13/4-length win in the 11⁄8-mile Garden City, heavy favorite Gozzip Girl ran into trouble on the first turn when she clipped heels and almost went down before gathering herself to finish fourth.
While there is no denying Gozzip Girl didn't get the ideal trip, Miss World didn't exactly have things her way either.
Never miss a local story.
"It was actually a tough trip for her, too. The favorite got really badly squeezed inside, but mine also got squeezed between two horses on the outside," trainer Christophe Clement said after the Garden City. "I don't think she had a great trip, it's just she was the best horse."
Winless in her first five starts — all of which were run at a mile or less — Miss World didn't break her maiden until she was stretched out to 11⁄16 miles on the turf at Belmont in July.
Since getting a longer distance, Miss World has worked her closing kick to perfection, taking an allowance race at Saratoga in August before stepping up in the Garden City.
"She's always been a filly that's trained really, really well," said Ben Colebrook, an assistant to Clement. "Last year, we were kind of scratching our heads. She trained so well, but we couldn't figure out why she wasn't performing as well. Since we stretched her out, she's really shown some promise."
Owned by Waratah Thoroughbreds, Miss World has won on soft, good and firm turf, probably making the weather forecast a moot point.
Similarly, expected race favorite Gozzip Girl has won on yielding and firm conditions but has also displayed some versatility with her running style.
Gozzip Girl rallied from midpack in her 31/4-length win in the Grade I American Oaks Invitational on July 5 but earned her previous victory in the Grade II Sands Point at Belmont in wire-to-wire fashion.
"She is very versatile. She can win on the lead and come from behind," trainer Tom Albertrani said after the American Oaks. "She looks like she is just getting stronger and improving all the time."
Shared Account has yet to run off the board since switching to turf four starts ago and is another who could relish the potential soft going Saturday.
Shared Account finished second after setting the pace in the Garden City and scored a 1-length victory in the Grade II Lake Placid at 11⁄8 miles over a soft Saratoga turf in August.
"Once she won the race in Saratoga and proved she was capable in a Grade II, this was a race that we'd hoped to make," said trainer Graham Motion, who won the QE II in 2003 with Film Maker. "Once again (for the QE II), we've got soft grass; once again it's kind of a paceless race. It's not ideal for her but, having said that, she's a very easy filly, a very kind filly. I would hope she'd be very competitive in there."