In search of his fourth consecutive victory in the $600,000 Beverly D. (G1) at Arlington on Saturday, trainer Chad Brown fittingly has four of the nine fillies and mares in the 1 3/16-mile turf event, which also serves as a “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge race for the 1 3/8-mile Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs in November.
The two leading lights in the Brown contingent are well acquainted above and beyond sharing the same barn area as this marks the third meeting of the season between Sistercharlie and Fourstar Crook. Sistercharlie was 2 1/4 lengths on top of her stablemate in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland in April, but in the June 8 New York (G2) it was Fourstar Crook who got the jump on Sistercharlie, who missed by a head after falling behind 29 lengths in a swiftly-run affair.
Fourstar Crook has not run since, but Sistercharlie enters the Beverly D. off a photo-finish score in the nine-furlong Diana (G1) at Saratoga.
Stable companions Inflexibility and Thais have form to find. Inflexibility enters off back-to-back seconds in the Beaugay (G3) and Dance Smartly (G2), while Thais, also multiple Group 3-placed, has a single win in five starts since her importation from France.
The Beverly D. has been won only once by a three-year-old, that being Euro Charline in 2014. Looking to buck that historical trend are the two European invaders Athena and Nyaleti.
Representing Coolmore, Athena comes enters off a decisive 2 1/2-length tally in the July 7 Belmont Oaks (G1), which came just six days after a third-place finish against older fillies and mares in the Pretty Polly (G1) at the Curragh. Nyaleti captured the German 1000 Guineas (G2) at Düsseldorf in May, but was 12 lengths adrift of star Alpha Centauri in the Falmouth (G1) at Newmarket over a mile last month.
Dona Bruja, beaten a half-length in the 2017 Beverly D. as the 2-1 favorite, should not be overlooked. Fifth in the Jenny Wiley (G1) last time, the race might be a tossout as her worst two worst races since her importation from Argentina occurred over the Keeneland turf.
The gap between the favorites and Daddys Lil Darling seem to be narrowing. Last season’s American Oaks (G1) heroine was third by a little more than a length in the New York, and then captured the Modesty H. (G3) convincingly last time. The allowance-class Oh So Terrible completes the field of nine.