The one part of the summer meet at Arlington Park that I like are the major turf races. It has the healthy International competition between American vs European horses. It’s one of the few times throughout the racing season, European connections will travel their top prospects abroad and race on US soil.
The Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park on Saturday will pit six American and 4 European fillies and mares to battle for the $750,000 purse. The race is set to go 1 3/16 miles over the historic turf course.
1. Kapitale (GER) – Mirco Demuro – 123 – Andreas Wohler – 12/1
2. I’m A Dreamer (IRE) – Hayley Turner – 123 – David Simcock – 8/1
3. Romacaca (FL) – Francisco Torres – 123 – Danny Miller – 15/1
4. Upperline (KY) – James Graham – 123 – Mike Stidham – 20/1
5. Mystical Star (KY) – Jose Lezcano – 123 – Christophe Clement – 6/1
6. Up (IRE) – Colm O’Donoghue – 117 – Aidan O’Brien – 8/1
7. Aruna (KY) – Ramon Dominguez – 123 – Graham Motion -7/2
8. Marketing Mix (ON) – Julien Leparoux – 123 – Thomas Proctor – 3/1
9. Stars to Shine (KY) – Alex Solis – 123 – Mark Frostad – 15/1
10. Joviality (GB) – William Buick – 123 – John Gosden – 9/2
The morning line 3/1 favorite is is the four year old Thomas Proctor trained Marketing Mix. Since last July, the Medaglia d’Oro filly has raced 8 times, winning 6, placing 2nd once and the other a 4th. In those 6 wins, she has won four graded stakes including her last two the Nassau Stakes (G2) and Dance Smartly Stakes (G2) at Woodbine. Her career earnings are now over $1,000,000. Her only off the board attempt came in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. She was set to make a move on the inside but got bottled up as they straightened out down the stretch. By the time an opening came it was too late and ran out of room. She sits off the speed whether fast or moderate. It’s nice to know she can rate off both.
It’s tough to say who the top European is since none of them have really dominated in 2012.
The John Gosden trained filly Joviality (GB) is an interesting yet appealing horse in here. She comes off a disappointing 10th place finish in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes (British Champion Series G1). She led for the first 6 furlongs of the one mile race, but didn’t possess much else and faded to last. In the race prior, the one mile Windsor Forest Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot, she sat off the lead and made a strong move down the stretch. She dug in to win by a neck over Chachamaidee. She seems to enjoy the one mile races more than the longer distance. So to see Gosden ship her across the pond to run in a long distance race makes you wonder what he sees in this filly that we don’t see on paper. Her last attempt beyond one mile or 1 1/16 miles was in the Prix de la Shadwell (G2) at Deauville on August 23 last year. She sat off the leader, made a move on the far turn, but failed to compete afterwards. She finished 7th out of 11 horses.
The other Euro who could be a threat is I’m A Dreamer (IRE). She missed considerable time after a hard fought loss (neck) to Miss Keller in the E P Taylor Stakes (G1) at Woodbine last October. She wouldn’t race again until May this year where she ran 3rd in the Betfred Middleton Stakes (G2) at York. She raced two weeks later finishing 4th in the BetFair Brigadier Gerard Stakes (G3) at Sandown. Her latest was a 3rd in Barclays Bank Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes (G1) at . The five year old Irish bred hasn’t won since May 2011, but she has been on the board in 5 of 7 races. Four of the 7 races in Group or Grade 1 company.
Other Americans who should compete well are Aruna and Mystical Star. The Graham Motion trained Aruna is a four time graded stakes winner with one of them in Grade 1 company. That was last year in the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland. After that win, she finished in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1). Unfortunately, she was injured during the race and would be forced to the sidelines for five months. Her first race back would be the Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) at Keeneland in April and finished an uneven 6th. She shipped up to Belmont Park and won the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (G2) on May 26. The five year old Mr. Greeley mare remained at Belmont Park and ran 2nd behind Mystical Star in the New York Stakes on June 30. She was unable to gain ground on the front runner as the winner went gate to wire. The Beverly D. will be her 3rd race back from layoff, so it will be interesting to see how she performs. She is consistent and the only Grade or Group 1 winner in the field. That deserves merit.
As we mentioned Mystical Star won the New York Stakes last time out defeating Aruna. Gate to wire will be a tougher task to achieve on Saturday. However, she has proven before that she doesn’t need the lead to win. Albeit against weaker competition. If the speed is not quick early on, look for Jose Lezcano to send her. If it is quick, she might sit further back. She’s a lightly raced four year old who has won 4 of 8 career races. The New York was her first graded win. Can she build on that or will the tougher field be too much?
I’m a huge fan of performance at the highest level, especially when you are about to run at the highest level. Aruna has the experience and results in Grade 1 company. I like her in here. It’s her 3rd start back from the long Winter layoff. Of the other horses who have not yet been able to achieve winning status in Grade 1, you have to look at Marketing Mix. She has been as consistent as any over the last few months. She can sit off any pace and make a strong move late. I’m A Dreamer is the one horse in this race that has tons of experience around the 1 1/4 miles distance. She hasn’t shown us enough to say she will win this race, but enough consistency to give us confidence of being in the mix. A long shot to throw in an exotic bet is Romacaca. Her Grade 1 experience is limited but she has been one of the better females at Grade 2 and 3 over the last year or so. She comes into the race winning the Modesty Handicap (G3) at Arlington on July 14. That race was 1 3/16 miles, the same distance as the Beverly D. She ran 4th in the Beverly D last year which shows us she likes the Arlington turf.
On the Board: Marketing Mix, I’m A Dreamer and Romacaca
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