With a purse of $600,000 plus a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on the line, the one sure bet in Saturday’s Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington International Racecourse is that the 1 3/16-mile race will be competitive and exciting.
The morning-line favorite at odds of 9-5 is Sistercharlie (#3), an Irish-bred filly representing trainer Chad Brown, who has won the last three editions of the Beverly D. Stakes. You have to admire a horse like Sistercharlie, who has been nothing but pure class throughout her career. Her first five starts came in France, where she won the Group 3 Prix Penelope before finishing a strong second despite a troubled trip in the Group 1 Prix de Diane Longines, the French equivalent of the Kentucky Oaks.
Sistercharlie has been just as good or better since arriving in the United States last summer. This year alone, she’s scored Grade 1 wins in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland and the Diana Stakes at Saratoga, stamping herself as arguably the top female turf horse in training in North America this season.
But Sistercharlie did suffer one defeat earlier this year, failing by just a head to rally and catch her Brown-trained stablemate Fourstar Crook (#7) in the Grade 2 New York Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets at Belmont Park. Fourstar Crook is a very talented and classy mare in her own right, having won seven stakes races during her career, yet she has a tendency to get overlooked in the wagering and could offer appealing odds in the Beverly D. Stakes. I do prefer the chances of Sistercharlie, who defeated Fourstar Crook decisively in the Jenny Wiley, but the outcome could certainly go either way and I would not be surprised if Sistercharlie and Fourstar Crook finish first and second.
Of course, the depth of the Beverly D. field extends well beyond those two runners. Daddys Lil Darling (#1), Dona Bruja (#4), and Athena (#9) have all won at the Grade 1 level, with Ireland-based Athena unleashing a particularly impressive performance to win the 1 ¼-mile Belmont Oaks Invitational last month. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has surprisingly never won the Beverly D., Athena is just 3 years old and will get to carry six pounds less than her older rivals, a subtle advantage that could help her overcome drawing the outside post position.
Ultimately, I’m going to put most of my support behind Sistercharlie and Fourstar Crook, who should be tough to beat if they bring their “A” games on Saturday. I’ll play them on top in the exacta and trifecta while adding the other Grade 1 winners underneath.
Here’s how I would play the race:
Wagering Strategy A: Exactas on a $20 Budget
$6 exacta box: 3,7 ($12)
$2 exacta: 3 with 1,4,7,9 ($8)
Wagering Strategy B: Trifectas on a $30 Budget
$2 trifecta: 3,7 with 3,7 with 1,4,9 ($12)
$2 trifecta: 3,7 with 1,4,9 with 3,7 ($12)
$1 trifecta: 3 with 7 with 1,4,9 ($3)
$1 trifecta: 3 with 1,4,9 with 7 ($3)
Good luck, and enjoy the race!