November 28, 2021

Santa Barbara seeks to buck historical trend in Beverly D.

Santa Barbara stamped her class in the Belmont Oaks (Photo by Elsa Lorieul/Coglianese Photos)

Beverly D. S. (G1) — Race 7 (5:49 p.m. ET)

Santa Barbara will attempt to buck a long history in Saturday’s $400,000 Beverly D. S. (G1) that’s generally worked against three-year-old aspirants in the 1 3/16-mile grass test for fillies and mares at Arlington, but circumstances could favor that happening.

The daughter of Camelot, campaigned by Ballydoyle and trained by Aidan O’Brien, has only recently started living up to the lofty reputation and expectations accorded to her. Favored in the 1000 Guineas (G1) in May off a single start and win at age two, her relative lack of experience resulted in a fourth-place finish behind stablemate Mother Earth in the Newmarket classic. Favored again in an Epsom Oaks (G1) contested in testing conditions the following month, she was decisively beaten again by another stablemate, Snowfall.

Santa Barbara has come around since. Beaten only a neck in the Pretty Polly (G1) at the Curragh against older rivals in late June, Santa Barbara wheeled back in 13 days and prevailed against much softer in the Belmont Oaks (G1), albeit by only a half-length after waiting for racing room for much of the stretch run.

In a history dating to the late 1980s, the Beverly D. has had only one three-year-old winner, Euro Charline (2014). In Santa Barbara’s favor, her rider, Ryan Moore, was aboard for Euro Charline’s win, and this year’s Beverly D. lacks depth.

Mean Mary, who’s won seven of 10 lifetime on grass, looms the filly to catch and beat. The Graham Motion trainee has won both starts this year, in the Gallorette (G3) at Pimlico and a title defense of the New York (G2) at Belmont. The latter was run on rain-soaked ground, and Mean Mary just held on to beat Thundering Nights, the older rival that beat Santa Barbara a neck in the Pretty Polly.

Chad Brown, who’s trained the winners of the Beverly D. the last five years it’s been held, relies solely on Lemista. A Group 2 winner in Ireland last season, the Raven’s Pass filly was a solid second in the May 8 Beaugay (G3) in her U.S. debut, but trailed the field of eight in last month’s Diana (G1) at Saratoga in a presumably uncharacteristic performance.

The remainder of the Beverly D. entries all exit the soft local prep, the July 17 Modesty (G3). Naval Laughter sprung an 8-1 upset in her stakes debut that day with a half-length win over Joy Epifora. Bramble Queen was third, while outsider Oh So Terrible beat one in what was her season debut.

Bruce D. S. (G1) — Race 8 (6:28 p.m. ET)

The $300,000 Bruce D. S. (G1), a one-mile turf test for three-year-olds formerly known as the Secretariat, attracted a modest field for the class level. The field of nine is led by Tango Tango Tango, victorious in the American Derby last month in his stakes debut.

Pucker Up S. (G3) — Race 6 (5:12 p.m. ET)

The Chad Brown-trained Shantisara has found a winnable spot for her second U.S. start in the $100,000 Pucker Up S. (G3), a nine-furlong grass test for three-year-old fillies.

Although her only wins in France occurred on synthetic at the allowance level, Shantisara was a clear second in her first stateside appearance in the June 26 Boiling Springs S. at Monmouth on the turf.

The Grade 3-placed Oyster Box and Flown look competitive, while Iowa Oaks (G3) runner-up Shesa Mystery tries grass for the first time in this spot. Recent graduate Serene, representing Godolphin, is a daughter of Tapit and out of a half-sister to Bodemeister.