Marketing Mix winning the Rodeo Drive Stakes last fall to earn her first Grade 1 win. (Photo courtesy of Benoit & Associates)
Craig Bernick of Glen Hill Farm hopes this weekend’s Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park helps propel Marketing Mix to more lucrative races against males later this season – namely the $3-million Breeders’ Cup Turf and the $2.8-million Hong Kong Cup.
But for Bernick, a victory in Beverly D. would be its own reward. His family is from the Chicago area. Plus, a runner-up finish by Marketing Mix in last year’s race left her connections feeling like there was unfinished business at Arlington.
Marketing Mix entered the 2012 Beverly D. seeking her first career Grade 1 win and came up just a head short of winner Zagora after closing from sixth in the stretch. She subsequently won the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes to pick up the elusive Grade 1 and then finished second, again to Zagora, in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
“We’ve had this race circled since after the Breeders’ Cup,” Bernick said. “She was probably best in this race [the Beverly D.] last year. She had nowhere to go, had to shift wide at the eighth pole and was coming but just didn’t get there.”
The Beverly D. is one of three Grade 1 races on Saturday’s Arlington Million Stakes card and a victory at Arlington’s marquee event would be extra special for Bernick.
“We’d love to win this race in Chicago. My grandparents were both born in Chicago and met after the war. I grew up here, and came to appreciate the Million, Secretariat, and Beverly D. as legitimate international Grade 1 races,” he said.
“It takes a top-class horse to win these races, and hopefully ours gets the job done. She’s going great, and we’re excited to run her.”
Marketing Mix has won 10 of her 18 career starts and earned more than $1.8-million. She secured her second Grade 1 win this year when she prevailed in the Gamely Stakes in May at Hollywood Park and is unbeaten in two races in 2013 for trainer Tom Proctor.
BERNICK CONGRATULATS HALL OF FAME RIDER GARY STEVENS AFTER GAMELY
Photo courtesy of Benoit & Associates
Bernick mentioned both the Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Honk Kong Cup - 1 ½-mile races that regularly draw top international turf horses - as potential future targets for Marketing Mix. He also discussed the possibility of a future date with undefeated two-time European Horse of the Year Frankel, who is standing his first season at stud in Europe at Juddmonte Farms.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, though,”Bernick said. “The Beverly D. would be biggest race we’ve won since the 1994 Breeders’ Cup [Distaff].”