December 5, 2023

Breeders’ Cup bid up for grabs in Beverly D.

Rougir wins the Beaugay Stakes at Belmont Park (Photo by Joe Labozzeta/Coglianese Photos)

Beverly D. S. (G1) — Race 5 (3:01 p.m. ET)

While the $500,000 Beverly D. S. (G1) will have a new home when it’s run for the 32nd time on Saturday at Churchill Downs, the cast of human connections aiming to win the nine-furlong grass test for fillies and mares will lend familiarity to the proceedings.

Trainer Chad Brown will attempt to enhance his record of Beverly D. winners to seven with the four-year-old filly Rougir, who is owned in partnership by Peter Brant and Michael Tabor. Brant’s champion mare Sistercharlie won back-to-back renewals of the Beverly D. in 2018-19, the latter edition being the last of five straight wins in the Beverly D. for Brown.

Tabor, and his fellow Coolmore partners, will also be represented Saturday by the three-year-old filly Lily Pond. Coolmore and trainer Aidan O’Brien won the final edition of the Beverly D. held at Arlington a year ago with another three-year-old, Santa Barbara, who tragically died soon after.

Rougir is the only prior Grade/Group 1 winner among the cast of five. Victorious in the Prix de l’Opera (G1) at Longchamp last October, Rougir has had a mixed record since her importation following that win. Seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) in her season finale, the daughter of Territories got her 2022 campaign off on the right foot with at three-length tally in the Beaugay (G3) on May 14. However, Rougir could only finish fifth after being stuck behind a slow pace as a heavy favorite in the New York (G1), and last time was outrun by other stable companions in a swiftly-run edition of the Diana (G1).

Lily Pond, a daughter of Galileo who descends from the blue hen Urban Sea on both the paternal and maternal sides of her pedigree, developed too late to become a classic prospect this year, but earned her biggest win to date last month in the nine-furlong Kilboy Estate (G2) at the Curragh by a half-length while facing older rivals in just her fifth lifetime start.

Family Way has finished first or second in all four starts this year, a victory in the 1 1/2-mile Orchid (G3) in March preceding runner-up finishes in the Bewitch (G3) and New York. Princess Grace is a five-time graded winner, most recently defending her title in the Dr. James Penny Memorial (G3) at Parx by three lengths. Rounding out the field is Grade 3 winner Dalika, who did not factor in the Diana after running second in the Mint Julep (G3) at Churchill in early June.

The Beverly D. winner will receive an automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Keeneland, which will be run over 1 3/16 miles on Nov. 5.