This Saturday, racing fans throughout the world will turn their attention to the state of Illinois, where Arlington Park will host a fantastic day of international racing highlighted by three Grade 1 events. Although the feature of the day is the Arlington Million, arguably the deepest and most competitive race of the day is the $600,000 Beverly D. Stakes, a 1 3/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares. The Beverly D. is a Challenge Series "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, and will be televised on NBCSN during its live broadcast from Arlington, scheduled for 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET.
In recent years, handicapping the Beverly D. Stakes has been relatively simple. Fifteen of the last sixteen winners were bred outside of the United States, with horses based in Europe enjoying strong success. On the recent occasions when a U.S.-based filly has prevailed, they’ve all shared the common theme of being European imports trained by the top U.S. turf trainer Chad Brown.
With this in mind, I’m going to take a shot with #5 Grand Jete. The British-bred mare won just once from eight starts in France last year, but is a perfect 3-for-3 since being shipped to the U.S. and transferred to Brown’s barn. In her U.S. debut, Grand Jete rallied into a modest pace to win a one-mile allowance race at Keeneland by 4 ¼ lengths, then followed up that effort with a similarly impressive run in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth Park, in which she closed strongly from the back of the pack to defeat a talented field.
Most recently, Grand Jete won an allowance optional claiming race at Belmont Park going a mile and a sixteenth, again sweeping from off the pace to win decisively while running the final five-sixteenths of a mile in a quick :28.31 seconds. The Beverly D. Stakes will mark Grand Jete’s longest U.S. race date, but her powerful finishes in her last three starts suggest that the extra distance won’t be an issue. If she stays near her morning line odds of 6-1, I think she offers the best value in the race.
Another major contender is #10 Rain Goddess, who ships in from Europe for trainer Aidan O’Brien. As a 3-year-old filly, Rain Goddess will carry six pounds less than her older rivals, and while Rain Goddess has lost her last six races, she has competed admirably against some of the best horses in the world. Last time out, she finished second in the Group 1 Irish Oaks behind the European super filly Enable, and two starts back she was second to the talented older mare Nezwaah in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes. With form like this, Rain Goddess might be the filly to beat, especially with the top jockey Ryan Moore in the saddle.
#1 Dacita and #7 Rainha Da Bateria, two other accomplished mares trained by Chad Brown, are also worthy of consideration for deeper tickets like the trifecta or superfecta, while #4 Dona Bruja – a star runner from Argentina that won the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington last month – should be rallying fast from off the pace.
Here’s how I would play the race:
Wagering Strategy on a $15 Budget
$5 to win on #5 Grand Jete ($5)
$2 exacta: 5,10 with 5,10 ($4)
$1 exacta: 5 with 1,4,7 ($3)
$1 exacta: 1,4,7 with 5 ($3)
Wagering Strategy on a $25 Budget
$7 to win on #5 Grand Jete ($7)
$0.50 trifecta: 5 with 1,4,7,10 with 1,4,7,10 ($6)
$0.50 trifecta: 1,4,7,10 with 5 with 1,4,7,10 ($6)
$0.50 trifecta: 1,4,7,10 with 1,4,7,10 with 5 ($6)
Good luck, and enjoy the race!