2018 Beverly D. Stakes Preview

When you have a racetrack, and want to honour your late wife, you can hardly do better than running one of the premier filly and mare turf races of the year in her name.  The Beverly D. Stakes takes its name from Beverly Duchossois, wife of Arlington Park chairman Richard Duchossois.  Beverly Duchossois passed away in 1980; this race has been run in her name since 1987.  Once, a horse in Richard Duchossois’s silks won the race run in his late wife’s honour:  in 2010, Eclair De Lune kicked home in the final furlong to win it for the home team.  Other winners of the Beverly D have included Hall of Fame inductee Flawlessly (1991), as well as Eclipse champions Possibly Perfect (1995), Stacelita (2011), and Dank (2013).

The Beverly D. drew a competitive field of nine fillies and mares.  To the winner goes the best share of a $600,000 purse, as well as a Win and You’re In berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.  To date, just one horse has won both races: Dank, who did so her championship year.

Dank wins the 2013 Beverly D., the first half of her unprecedented Beverly D.-Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf double.

The Arlington Million, in addition to the Beverly D., will be part of a live telecast on NBC Sports Network, running from 5:00pm-6:00pm CDT.  Horse Racing Radio Network will stream a broadcast of the Arlington Million, the Beverly D., the Secretariat, as well as stakes from Saratoga from 4:00pm-6:30pm CDT.  This will stream on its website and on Sirius/XM 93.

This is just one of five stakes races on Arlington Million Day; once all stakes previews are posted, we will have a separate page with links to all of our previews and analysis for Saturday at Arlington.

Selections are made for turf only.  

Saturday, August 11 – Arlington Park

Race 10: Beverly D Stakes (G1), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, one and three sixteenths miles on the turf, post time 5:25pm CDT

Trainer Chad Brown sends out four of the nine horses in the Beverly D field.  INFLEXIBILITY will likely make pace.  THAIS gets a chance to prove herself at both this class and this distance.

And the other two, FOURSTAR CROOK and SISTERCHARLIE, have emerged among the top two turf mares in the country.  They’ve been bonking heads all year long, with SISTERCHARLIE kicking past FOURSTAR CROOK in the Jenny Wiley (G1), then FOURSTAR CROOK keeping her head in front for the New York (G2) two months later.  Both are horses who can take their form with them, and though both are closers, both have a proven ability to kick on even when the pace in front of them is not particularly torrid — a concern, as INFLEXIBILITY may not get it too tough on the front end.

FOURSTAR CROOK gets the slight nod over her stablemate — for far more reasons than just her likelihood to be a longer price.  She ran a good third in the E. P. Taylor (G1) last year, suggesting some affinity for a galloping-style North American turf course, form that tends to transfer nicely to Arlington.  And, she also got the head-to-head over SISTERCHARLIE in the mile and a quarter New York Stakes.  Though this is slightly shorter — a mile and three sixteenths — the distance has more in common with the ten-furlong test than with the shorter mile and a sixteenth, even mile and an eighth races in which SISTERCHARLIE may have the advantage.

Even so, SISTERCHARLIE can’t be ignored.  She didn’t miss by much to FOURSTAR CROOK in the New York, and she even has a victory over this trip back in France.  She is another closer who kicks on well, and the fact that Chad Brown would send her back to the track this soon after the Diana (G1) at Saratoga suggests she has held her form well.

ATHENA is better at this point in time than some of Aidan O’Brien’s other sophomore fillies in recent years.  It’s a positive to see him change tactics a bit, as Aidan O’Brien still remains winless in the Beverly D.  Instead of a horse who he’s still trying to figure out, who was precocious but hasn’t quite cut the mustard at three, he instead sends a horse who struggled to get off the mark at two, but has rounded into excellent form at three.  ATHENA did not break her maiden until four starts back, a ten-furlong maiden at Fairyhouse on May 31, her sixth career start.  Two starts later she finished a credible third in the Pretty Polly (G1) behind the Urban Fox (a four-year-old) and Forever Together (her more fancied stablemate from Ballydoyle).  And, her Belmont Oaks win was the kind of impressive effort that makes a Grade 1 against older a logical next step: she was parked three to four wide for so much of the way, and still managed to kick clear and win with authority.

It was tempting to look for an alternative to ATHENA for this spot, and to do so with DONA BRUJA.  After all, DONA BRUJA was second in this race last year, and has a win over the course in last year’s Modesty (G3).  The layoff is hardly a worry, as DONA BRUJA runs well fresh.  But?  She has a bit less upside to improve, being six years old compared to ATHENA being three.  And, DONA BRUJA has had an almost bizarre (for her, anyway) pattern this year of going to the lead.  She is more effective from off the pace.  If Jose Valdivia resurrects that style — and lets INFLEXIBILITY, and perhaps NYALETI, do the dirty work up front, DONA BRUJA could be a factor late.  But, with DONA BRUJA having yet to prove a win type against this crowd, it’s better to relegate her (even at the relatively higher price compared to ATHENA) to underneath slots and perhaps large spread tickets.




#9 ATHENA (3/1)

Longshot:  #2 NYALETI (15/1) tries a mile and a quarter for the first time here — demand a price, because that’s a large question the three-year-old daughter of Arch has to answer.  However, she is a young horse who is going the right way.  Though she was well beaten in the Falmouth (G1) last-up, that was her first Group 1 against older mares, and a significant step forward in class for her.  She should be better for that experience, and it’s a positive that she has a victory against older three back in an ungraded event at Goodwood.  NYALETI also appeals because of her running style; she will be forward, but has tactical speed.  INFLEXIBLITY likely sends, but NYALETI should be able to sit close enough to get an early run, perhaps even first run.  Finally, the fact that shes been shipping around quite a bit — to England, to Germany, to France — appears to have translated well to this longer transatlantic ship.  NYALETI looks in fine fettle in the mornings, fit and professional, just like you’d want an up-and-coming Grade 1 horse to look.


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