No racing event we would be complete without a counterpart or additional stakes race that sets the stage for the highly anticipated Feature Race. The Arlington Million is no different. Prior to Saturday’s feature will be the 22nd running of the G1 Beverly D. Stakes for Fillies and Mares, 3 yrs old and up. In line with the Arlington Million and contributing to the greatest day of Turf Racing in North America, the Beverly D. is going to be a battle.
Since its inaugural running in 1987, the Beverly D. has been attracting some of the top and champion fillies and mares from around the world. To up the ante even more and entice more top-notch contenders, the winner is now granted an automatic qualification into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf via the BC Challenge, Win & You’re In series. With a purse of $750,000 also in play, this 1 3/16 mile race has a lot to offer to the handicapper.
First things first. With a record of 3 lifetime victories in the Beverly D., trainer Christophe Clement returns again this year in search of a 4th. Having won with a different Jockey and Owner in each, Clement hooks back up with owner Robert Scarborough, the same owner that he won with last time. One thing that will be different from 2008 is the jockey that they will be relying on to guide their Mare through to the winners circle. Garret Gomez returns in the irons for his 3rd mount on Cheetah.
The biggest plus side that contributes to the chances of winning for this young and lightly raced 4 yr filly is her recent performances inside the U.S. Having never raced here until this year, Saturday will be her 4th time out on U.S. soil. Winning 2 of the previous 3 and finishing 3rd in the other, her beyers speed rating has improved after every race. One concern that she does carry is her racing class so far. Although, last time out was her first Graded Stakes victory in the G3 Robert G. Dick Memorial, the Beverly D will be her first Grade 1 Stakes race.
The favorite and breaking from the 1 post is Stacelita. Consistency is what this 5 yr old mare is all about. In 15 lifetime starts she’s won 8 and finished in the money 12 times. In her first ever race inside the U.S., the French Girl made a bold move against the boys in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park. Although she only held the lead briefly, she was still game enough to hold on for 3rd against a very competitive field. Assuming training duties is Chris Brown and Ramon Dominguez is scheduled to ride for the first time. After an impressive stint of training at Saratoga, the morning line favorite is expected to show championship form.
Making her debut in North America is River Jetez. Bred in South Africa and quite the world traveler, this 8 yr old mare is your 2nd choice on the morning line. Prior to a disappointing 5th last time out, she won only once in her last 4 but is a veteran turf runner that can find her grove anywhere around the world. Rounding out the top 4 choices on the morning line is Fantasia. Although, she was bred in GB she has remained in North America since the spring of 2010. Her big advantage is what she’s done at Arlington Park. Last time out she won the G3 Modesty Handicap here, a race that was also on the turf and covered same distance as the Beverly D. In a total of 4 races this year, all on turf, she’s notched 1 win, 2 2nd places and a 3rd. Rajiv Maragh remains in the saddle and looks to score the first Grade 1 win for Fantasia.
Of the remaining 7 horses there are a couple worth mentioning. Bred in KY but raced mainly in Europe, Patchattack returns to Chicago where she won her last time out in the G3 Arlington Matron Stakes on 5/23. At a 1 1/8 mile and run over the synthetic track listed as Fast, that’s exactly how she ran. Winning by 6 lengths she posted a winning time 1:49.64 just .34 behind the track record. The performance was awarded when she received a beyers speed rating of 103. She finished 6th in last year’s Beverly D so she’ll have to bring it to avenge last year’s showing.
Last but not least is last year’s Beverly D winner Éclair De Lune. Last year’s triumph was a bit unexpected but a thrilling result for the mare that had yet to win a Graded Stakes race. Bred in Germany, she has held court in the U.S. since early 2010 and will be making her first start at Arlington Park this year. Junior Alvarado returns for the mount and will attempt become the 3rd jockey all time to win the Beverly D. back to back (Kent Desormeaux ’08, ’09 & Jerry Bailey ’97, ’00 — no race in 98 or 99).
Picks: Let me start things off by throwing in my Live Longshot that I’m definitely going to play across the board. Although I expect the odds to come down from 10-1, the price will probably still be good enough for the play. Dubawi Heights comes in from the West Coast where she’s won her last 4 starts. Even though she’s only raced 3 times this year, her last two wins were against G3 and G1 class. I like the young 23 yr old Joel Rosario and I think he’s in a great position to make a splash in the Midwest on Saturday.
Garret Gomez is making the trip into Chicago specifically for this race as his mount in the Arlington Million is the longest shot on the board. I’m a big fan of he and Christophe Clement so I’m going to try to beat the favorite with Cheetah. If anyone out there is looking to play the Arlington regulars, take a look at Never Retreat trained by Chris Block. As of 8/10, Block is the Meets leading trainer in overall earnings ($579,304).
Exacta Box: 1-3-7 Trifecta Box: 1-3-5-7
Grade 1 $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes | Fillies & Mares | 3 Yrs Old & Up | 1 3/16 Mile | Turf PP Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
- Stacelita (FR) R. Dominguez C. Brown 3-1
- Check the Label J. Leparoux H. Motion 20-1
- Fantasia (GB) R. Maragh J. Sheppard 6-1
- Upperline J. Graham M. Stidham 20-1
- Dubawi Heights (GB) J. Rosario S. Callaghan 10-1
- River Jetez (SAF) C. Soumillon M. de Kock 4-1
- Cheetah (GB) G. Gomez C. Clement 9-2
- Pachattack F. Geroux G. Butler 10-1
- Eclair de Lune (GER) J. Alvarado R. McAnally 12-1
- Romin Robin J. Santana D. Kassen 30-1
- Never Retreat S. Bridgmohan C. Block 10-1
Good luck to all horses and their connections. Best of luck race fans, it’s going to be a great day of racing here in Chicago.
Written by: Little Brink — Chicago, IL