Dank won the Bevely D. Stakes in August to secure a spot in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)
It isn’t unusual to see European invaders come to the United States and win turf races, but rarely do you see them win as easily as Dank in the Beverly D. Stakes.
The filly shipped over from England to win the “Win and You’re In” stakes race by 4 ¼ lengths at Arlington Park in August over a quality field. The victory meant that her connections added a start in the November Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf to her calendar.
Dank waited nearly three months until she raced again, but that entry came in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Her 1.50-to-1 odds told the story as she led a European-bred trifecta to the wire, winning her first Breeders' Cup race and in all probablity will be named champion grass mare at this year's Eclipse Awards.
Dank was on fire in 2013, winning four of her give starts, all in group/graded stakes company. But she saved the best for last, getting her first career Group/Grade 1 wins in the Beverly D. and the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Her only non-winning performance came during the Royal Ascot meet in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes when she finished third behind Duntle.
Duntle also ran in the Beverly D. but finished a non-threatening seventh.
With her two American wins win, Dank has won races in three different countries in 2013, taking races in England, Ireland, and the U.S. However, her 2013 record isn’t much of a surprise if people look back at the potential she showed in 2012. The filly won three of her six starts also finished second once, all in England.
Dank’s accomplishments last year were not at the same level as this year. Her only group stakes start came in a Group 3 race, but that test was a successful one as she beat rival Ladys First (a filly she had battled multiple times) by a neck. But with her step up in class this year, Dank has proven that she is the classic case of a horse getting better as they get older.
DANK WINNING BEVERLY D.
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
The biggest worry going into the Breeders’ Cup was that Dank had never won a race longer than 1 3/16 miles. Her average winning distance before the race was 8 ½ furlongs but she did win the Beverly D. at just a sixteenth of a mile less than the 1 ¼ miles of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf always attracts a strong field and 2013 was no exception, but Dank proved that she was the best female in the 10-horse field.
Dank’s pedigree is nothing to turn one’s nose up at.
In September, I wrote about Irish Champion Stakes winner The Fugue. Like The Fugue, Dank is by leading sire Dansili with the two females accounting for two of his 16 Grade/Group 1 winners. Dansili has an outstanding 82 career stakes winners, and 535 of his foals have won at least one race during their careers.
Dansili is also a full brother to 2009 Canadian Horse of the Year Champs Elysees, who won three Grade 1 races in North America. Both brothers are out of the bluehen mare Hasili, who also produced U.S. champions Banks Hill and Intercontinental. Seven of Hasili’s foals have won at least one group/graded stakes race and five have won at least one Group 1 or Grade 1 with two of her fillies winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
Ironically, Banks Hill's daughter Romantica finished second to Dank in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
There’s obviously class on Dank’s topside [sire side] but her dam, Masskana, boasts plenty of class as well.
Masskana is the dam of three Grade 1 or Group 1 winners among four stakes winners and the granddam or great-granddam of four other stakes winners. Her foals include $3.5 million earner Eagle Mountain, who finished second in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Turf.
If that wasn’t enough, Masskana is out of French One Thousand Guineas winner Masarika, who is also the dam of multiple stakes winners. Looking farther back on Dank’s page, there are more stakes winners than one could completely cover in this story. It is rare to see more bold names (to denote stakes winners and placers) on a horse’s pedigree page than regular type but Dank is an exception to that rule.
Looking at Dank’s page and race record, it's not hard to see why the filly won the Breeders' Cup and is the probable champion this year. She definitely had the pedigree and potential to back up a Breeders’ Cup win and got the chance to show that potential in 2013 for owner James Wigan.