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Beverly D Preview: Dona Bruja Ready for Grade 1 Score

Beverly D Preview: Dona Bruja Ready for Grade 1 Score

The 28th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Beverly D. over 1 3/16 miles on the turf at Arlington International Racecourse sets up as a battle between Dom Felipe’s brilliant Dona Bruja and nine other talented fillies and mares in the field. The Beverly D. is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf to be run at Del Mar on November 4.

Dona Bruja, a 5-year-old mare trained by Ignacio Correas, IV, is undefeated in her two North American starts, including the Grade 3 Modesty over this course on July 8 when the Argentine-bred showed a powerful turn of foot to overtake the leaders late in a seemingly effortless move. She has never finished worse than second in her 12 lifetime starts and holds 10 wins, six coming in graded stakes. With Declan Cannon aboard from post four, Dona Bruja will try to equal her final performance last year at San Isidro in Argentina, where the daughter of Storm Embrujado won the Group 1 Copa de Plata Roberto Vasquez Masilla Internacional at 1 1/4 miles on the grass by 1 1/2 lengths.

Leading the charge from the stable of Chad Brown will be Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Grade 1 winner Dacita, who will break from the rail under Irad Ortiz, Jr. The 6-year-old millionaire mare by Scat Daddy finished second in photos twice after winning the Grade 1 Diana last season and has the class of the field when she makes her third start of the season. Also from the Brown (who is tied with Christophe Clemente for the record number – three – of Beverly D. wins), will be Grand Jete, Juddmonte Farms’ winner of the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes. A winner in all three of her starts this season, the 4-year-old Dansili filly will start from post five with Joel Rosario aboard. Brown will also saddle Lael Stables’ multiple Grade 2-winner Rainha Da Bateria for his Beverly D. defense. The 5-year-old daughter of Broken Vow will be ridden by Jose Ortiz from post seven.

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Lael Stables will also have 4-year-old filly Hawksmoor in the field from the barn of Arnaud Delacour. The Grade 1-placed daughter of Azamour was third as a juvenile in the Group 1 Dubai Fillies Mile behind Minding and won the Group 2 German 1000 Guineas last June. Third at Keeneland last fall in her first North American start, Hawksmoor has won both Grade 3 and Grade 2 events this season and will be trying to secure an elusive Grade 1 victory under Julien Leparoux as they start from post nine.

European trainer Aidan O’Brien is sending Rain Goddess, runner-up in her most recent start to talented the filly Enable in the Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks. Owned by Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier, the 3-year-old filly by Galileo finished second when facing elders two starts back. She will break from the outside post in this field of 10 under Ryan Moore. Also making the international trek is Gestuet Faehrhof’s Sarandia. The 4-year-old daughter of Dansili, who sired 2013 Beverly D. winner Dank, was second in the German Oaks last year. The Peter Schiergen trainee drew post eight and will have Andrasch Starke in the irons.

Top Choice

#4 Dona Bruja – I’ve been ultra-impressed with her ever since her United States debut two races back at Churchill Downs. In that race, she just toyed with the field to win the Grade 3 Mint Julep. Next, she basically toyed with the field again at Arlington Park, winning the local prep race for this one by a length. Her turn of foot has been something to see, and for her, the longer, the better. These are not flashy connections, but they know how to win at Arlington Park. With a win here, Dona Bruja will be considered one of the top female horses in the country.

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#7 Rainha Da Bateria – She dead-heated last time out at Woodbine in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly to pick up her first win of the season. She’s come back a little stronger in 2017 than she was in 2016, but I still don’t think we’ve seen her best race yet. To win here, she’s going to have to run that kind of big race to which I’m referring, and there’s no reason to think that she can’t in what will be her third off of a layoff. Chad Brown will have her ready to roll here, and I’m expecting a giant effort. I nearly made her the top choice.

#9 Hawksmoor – So far, so good this year for the 4-year-old filly. She’s two-for-two with wins in Grade 3 and Grade 2 races. Naturally, a Grade 1 stakes is next, and this is the perfect spot to try. In both of her races this year, she’s been able to get loose on the lead, and with the way the pace set up looks on paper, she has a great chance to do that again. You’d think that this time, somebody will go out and pressure her, knowing how dangerous she can be on the front end, but if they don’t, it could be lights out for the rest of this field.

#5 Grand Jete – Since coming to America, she’s a perfect three-for-three and has the training of Chad Brown on her side. The only negative is that this will be a big-time class jump, as her three wins have come in two allowances and a Grade 3 at Monmouth Park. Has Brown been saving her for a huge effort in a race like this, or does he think she is a small cut below and is just taking a shot because she’s ready to run? It’s tough to tell, but leaving an undefeated-in-the-United-States Chad Brown horse off of your tickets is dangerous.

Exotic Plays

#1 Dacita – As much as I’ve loved her over the last couple of years, I’m starting to think that her best days might be behind her. There’s no doubt that her form from previous years would be very competitive in this race, and if she can get back to that kind of effort, then she’s got a big shot. However, her two races this year haven’t been great, especially last time out in the Grade 2 New York Stakes. A late rally for minor awards is the best that she can do here.

#10 Rain Goddess – Shipping in for trainer Aidan O’Brien, who will have her ready to run a big race, this filly is just one-for-seven overall in her career and is a 3-year-old facing older horses. Couple that with the fact that this will be her first race in the United States, and you can easily see she has a lot stacked against her. Her winning is not impossible, but she’s not one that I can play in the top spot.

#3 Kitten’s Roar – Always a consistent runner that won’t be overwhelmed with the competition she’s facing, she’s competitively matched up with some of the best in her division lately. However, she looks to be a small cut below, so her prospects of actually winning this aren’t great. She’s just a consistent horse though that you can count on to be near the front.

Party Crashers

#8 Sarandia – Like I always say, it’s sometimes the European shipper nobody’s talking about that can jump up and win a race like this one. Sarandia doesn’t bring an outstanding resume, but she does ride a two-race win streak, taking two smaller stakes in Germany. There’s no doubt that she’s ambitiously spotted here, but if she takes to the American style of racing, she could surprise at a huge price.

Throw Outs

#6 Zipessa – Her form has gone in the wrong direction this year after nearly winning the Beverly D. last year at a price of 10-1. She was beaten last time out at Delaware Park as a big favorite.

#2 Prado’s Sweet Ride – This Illinois-bred nearly pulled off a big upset last time out in the local prep, but it’s hard to see her running that type of race again. It would be a great story if she won, but I can’t see it happening.

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