Four appears to be the lucky number for trainer Chad Brown who sends a quartet of contenders for the 29th running of the Grade I $600,000 Beverly D. in search of his fourth consecutive victory in the 1 3/16-mile event for fillies and mares over the grass at Arlington International Racecourse. The winner of the Beverly D., a “Win and You're In” event, will receive an automatic berth into the starting gate of the Grade I $2,000,000 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
In the past three runnings, Brown won the Beverly D. with Watsdachances (2015), Sea Calisi (FR) (2016) and Dacita (CHI) (2017). Brown also secured a Beverly D. win in 2011 with Stacelita (FR).
Two of the four runners will be hooking up for the third time this season when Sistercharlie (IRE) and Fourstar Crook contest the Beverly D. The first time the pair squared off took place at Keeneland Race Course in the Grade I Jenny Wiley Stakes on April 14, when Sistercharlie got the best of her stablemate by 2¼ lengths in her first start since a runner-up finish in the Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational last July. Fourstar Crook turned the tables on Sistercharlie next out when the New York-bred daughter of Freud captured the Grade II New York Stakes by a head over the two-time Grade I winner. While Fourstar Crook was freshened following the New York Stakes, Sistercharlie has raced once since, defeating a stubborn Ultra Brat in the Grade I Diana Handicap at Saratoga Race Course on July 21.
Owned by Peter Brant, Sistercharlie began her career in France where she was a Group 3 winner and finished second in the Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks). The 4-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie (IRE) will be ridden by Hall of Fame jocky John Velazquez, who has guided Sistercharlie in all four of her North American starts.
Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and Gary Aisquith's Fourstar Crook is in search of her first Grade I win. Last season, she went on an eight-race winning streak which included her first graded victory in the Grade III Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes as well as three-stakes wins against her New York-bred counterparts. The talented bay continues to impress in her 6-year-old campaign with a pair of Grade II victories in the Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and the New York Handicap under the guidance of pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr. who has the call in the Beverly D. She will emerge from post seven and will look to become the first New York-bred to win the Beverly D.
Brown will also saddle Inflexibility and Thais (FR). Owned by Klaravich Stables in partnership with William Lawrence, Inflexibility has yet to win a graded stakes race but has secured a pair of stakes wins against fellow Ontario-breds over the lawn at Woodbine Racetrack in last year's Wonder Where Stakes, third leg of Canada's filly Triple Tiara, and the Carotene Stakes. The 4-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy may not have the resume that stablemates Fourstar Crook and Sistercharlie (IRE) bring, but she has proven herself consistent at a high level having finished in the money in nine out of ten starts. In her last effort, Inflexibility set an easy pace in the Grade II Dance Smartly at Woodbine Racetrack but could not hold off stablemate Santa Monica (GB). A victory in the Beverly D. would make her the first Ontario-bred to win the event since Dancing On a Cloud won the 1987 edition. Joel Rosario is named to ride from post eight.
Thais, a 4-year-old filly from the first crop of Rio de la Plata, began racing in her native France, where she won the Prix des Lilas at Maisons-Laffitte last June. Since arriving to the United States, the Brown trainee has been stakes placed twice and won her first race in America when coming off of a six-month layoff in an allowance optional claiming event over the Belmont Park turf. Owned by Allen Stable and Peter Brant, she boasts a consistent lifetime record of 12-3-3-3. Thais will be piloted by Florent Geroux from gate five.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien has been known for his past International Festival of Racing success with four Secretariat victories and two Arlington Million wins, but has not yet captured the Beverly D. The Ballydoyle-based conditioner sends Athena (IRE) to Arlington following a win in the Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 7. This victory took place only six days after the 3-year-old daughter of Camelot (GB) finished third in the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh, where she was beaten 5½ lengths. The Beverly D. will be the ninth start in only four months for the filly. Named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, she will emerge from post nine under jockey Ryan Moore. She is owned by the partnership group of Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor.
Returning to the Chicagoland oval fresh off a victory in the Grade III Modesty Handicap is Daddys Lil Darling who breaks from the rail under jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. Owned by Nancy Polk's Normandy Farm, the 4-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy was third in the Grade II New York Handicap at Belmont Park behind Fourstar Crook and Sistercharlie before winning the Modesty. She will be in search of her second Grade I victory. Last December she rounded out her 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Grade I American Oaks at Santa Anita. She is trained by Kenny McPeek and boasts the highest career bankroll in the field with $1,306,205 in earnings.
European raider Nyaleti (IRE) is owned by Chris, Rosie and Rob Batterham in partnership with Jen Reay and in search of her first Grade I victory. The 3-year-old daughter of Arch won the Group 2 German 1,000 Guineas over the tight, undulating course at Dusseldorf on May 27 by 4¼ lengths when going a mile. Last time out, the Mark Johnston trainee was fourth in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket behind Alpha Centauri (IRE). As a juvenile, she captured the Group 3 Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes. Nyaleti will be piloted by Silvestre de Sousa from gate two in her North American debut.
Dom Felipe's Dona Bruja (ARG) finished in a dead-heat for second when beaten a half-length by Dacita in last year's Beverly D. and seeks redemption when breaking from post four under current Arlington leading rider Jose Valdivia, Jr. Trained by Ignacio Correas, IV she began her racing career in her native Argentina where she won the Group 1 Copa de Plata-Roberto Vasquez Mansilla-Internaciona at San Isidro in December 2016. This was her last start before joining Correas' barn in the United States. In her American debut, the 6-year-old daughter of Storm Embrujado (ARG) won the Grade III Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes at Churchill Downs then shipped to Arlington to take the Grade III Modesty Handicap. This season, she boasts a four-length victory in the Grade III Endeavor Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on February 10.
Rounding out the field is Carol Hammersmith's Oh So Terrible who is the only Beverly D. contender with multiple wins over the surface. Trained by locally-based Bradley Ross, the 4-year-old filly has not won since defeating winners last September, but what she lacks in recent form she makes up for with a solid pedigree. By 2011 Arlington Million winner Cape Blanco (GB), she is out of two-time Argentinian champion Miss Terrible (ARG), who won two Grade III races when racing in the United States with conditioner Bradley Ross. Ross will look to capture his first Grade I with the daughter of the Argentinian champion. She will break from post six under veteran rider Sophie Doyle.
NBCSN will broadcast live from Arlington International Racecourse on Saturday, Aug. 11 with racing coverage beginning at 5:00 pm CDT. The 12-race card begins with a first post of 12:15 pm, with the Beverly D. scheduled as the tenth race with an approximate post time of 5:25 pm CDT.
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