Brown brings the numbers in pursuit of fifth Beverly D.
Courtesy of Marty McGee of DRF.com
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – It only seems like a new record is possible every time Chad Brown runs horses in major turf stakes. It happens to be true Saturday at Arlington Park, where Brown will go for a fourth straight victory in the Grade 1 Beverly D.
Brown, in from his Saratoga summer base for the day, will send out four of the nine runners in the 29th running of the $600,000 Beverly D., a race that’s right in his wheelhouse as a perennial key marker in North America’s filly-mare turf division. Two of the Brown horses, Sistercharlie and Fourstar Crook, will be among the race favorites, while the other two, Inflexibility and Thais, will be dispatched at higher odds.
Brown said earlier in the week he expects the 1 3/16-mile race to unfold somewhat predictably, with his longer shots contesting the pace while Sistercharlie and Fourstar Crook save their kicks for the final quarter-mile. All arrived here Tuesday.
“Two horses that want to run up front and two closers,” said Brown, whose prior Beverly D. wins came with Stacelita (2011), Watsdachances (2015), Sea Calisi (2016), and Dacita (2017). “The good thing is they’re all doing really well.”
Sistercharlie, the 9-5 morning-line favorite, will be ridden by John Velazquez and is looking for her third Grade 1 victory of the year, following the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April and the Diana last month at Saratoga. The Irish-bred 4-year-old is owned by Peter Brant.
Fourstar Crook, a New York-bred 6-year-old who will have Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, has won 11 of 17 starts and is owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and Gary Aisquith. She was second in the Jenny Wiley, then turned the tables on Sistercharlie when defeating her by a head in the Grade 2 New York on June 8.
Opposing trainers, as might be expected, are somewhat awed by Brown’s numbers.
“He brought a platoon, the son of a gun,” said a chuckling Ignacio Correas, who will send out Dona Bruja.
Correas is quietly confident Dona Bruja can upset the Brown contingent. After finishing second in a dead heat last year behind Dacita as a lukewarm favorite, the Argentine-bred mare has raced just three times, sandwiching a pair of decent efforts in Grade 1 turf races at Keeneland around a romp in the Grade 3 Endeavour at Tampa Bay Downs in February. In the Jenny Wiley, she set the pace before fading to fifth, after which Correas effectively called time out and began pointing her to the Beverly D. Toward that end, Correas arranged for Arlington’s leading jockey, Jose Valdivia Jr., to travel to Keeneland for a July 30 breeze. Valdivia has the mount Saturday, and has explicit instructions from Correas.
“The filly won’t be on the lead,” Correas said flatly. “The most important thing is for Jose to get her covered up. She is doing very good, and I hope we can get some racing luck.”
Other major contenders outside of the Brown circle are Athena, an Irish-bred who arrived here Monday for Coolmore and trainer Aidan O’Brien, and Daddys Lil Darling, a Grade 1 winner in from Kentucky for trainer Kenny McPeek.
Athena was a 10-1 winner of the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks in her North American debut last month before returning to her Ballydoyle base in Ireland. She seeks to become just the second 3-year-old to win the Beverly D., following Euro Charline (2014). Her jockey, Ryan Moore, is widely acclaimed as Europe’s finest, and has two Beverly D. triumphs (2013-14) to his credit – as opposed to O’Brien, who has been shut out in this race despite owning six Grade 1 wins at Arlington (two in the Arlington Million, four in the Secretariat).
Daddys Lil Darling, winner of the Grade 1 American Oaks at Santa Anita in December, comes off a sharp victory in the local prep for the Beverly D., the July 7 Modesty.
“It was really a big race for her,” said McPeek. “Obviously we’re looking for something like that again.”
Rounding out the Beverly D. lineup are Nyaleti, in from England for Mark Johnston, and Oh So Terrible, a local filly who figures as a rank outsider.
The Beverly D. is a Win and You’re In toward the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, to be run Nov. 3 at 1 3/8 miles at Churchill Downs. Brown has won three of the last six runnings of the BC Filly and Mare Turf.
Named for the late wife of Arlington chairman Richard L. Duchossois, the Beverly D. has been won by six eventual Eclipse champions since it became a Grade 1 race in 1991, with the latest being Dank in 2013. It goes as the 10th of 12 races, with post time set for 5:25 p.m. Central, and will be shown live on a 90-minute broadcast (5-6:30) on the NBC Sports Network.
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