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Fev Rover won the 2023 Beverly D. Stakes (G1) at Colonial Downs, a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. She was the 3/5 favorite following a close 3rd-place finish in the Diana Stakes (G1).
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Tracy Farmer’s Irish-bred Fev Rover earned an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Saturday courtesy of a gate-to-wire effort in the $500,000 Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes at Colonial Downs, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win & You’re In race, one of three graded stakes on the track’s inaugural “Festival of Racing” card which also included the Grade 2 $500,000 Secretariat Stakes and Grade 1 Arlington Million.
The 5-year-old Gutaifan mare broke sharply from post one in the field of five, slowed the tempo down after gaining control and triggered respective early fractions of :25.12 and :50.10. Fev Rover picked it up at the head of the stretch after a brief challenge from Peter Brant’s Gina Romantica and cruised home to a 3½-length triumph in 1:54.35. The win, her fifth overall, pushed her bankroll to $948,776.
Fev Rover took a solid third most recently in the G1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga finishing just one-half length off the pace, which followed a solid 4-1/2 length score in the G2 Nassau Stakes at Woodbine.
Javier Castellano, who directed Secretariat Stakes winner Gigante in the previous race, rode the Beverly D winner for trainer Mark Casse who had three wins on the afternoon. The double Hall of Fame trainer, who has a stable based in New Kent for the first time, connected twice for D.J. Stable’s earlier in the card with Glider and Bouncer, the latter of which they co-own with Gary Barber.
“When we flew here this morning, Javier and I talked about there not being a lot of speed in the race,” Casse said. “Fev Rover is very versatile and she can do whatever you want. If the pace is fast, she can sit back and wait and if it isn’t, she’ll be in the lead. She’s a good horse and that’s what good horses do. She could be pushing to be a really good horse. She shows up every time.
“In the Diana, she showed that she belonged,” added Casse. “She was dominant in the Nassau and beat a pretty good group but that was only one turn. She came back two weeks after that. Allen Jerkens always told me, ‘I don’t understand trainers. They want to give them a rest when they’re running good. Give them a rest instead when they are running bad,’ so I run them. The Diana told me she was a Breeders’ Cup horse. I told Mr. Farmer after that race that we had a Cup horse.”
Sent off as the 3-5 post time favorite Fev Rover paid $3.20, $2.10 and $2.10. Gina Romantica returned $2.40 and $2.10. It was another 2¼ lengths to third-place finisher Romagna Mia who paid $2.10. Mise En Scene and Jan’s Girl completed the order of finish.
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