Natural class and experience over the local turf course figure to give the Argentinean expat Didia an edge in the $500,000 Beverly D. (G1) at the fixture’s new home of Colonial Downs on Saturday.
A multiple Group 1 winner in her native land, Didia kicked off the U.S. portion of her career at Colonial last summer, beating allowance foes first out and then taking a key edition of the Old Nelson S. Returning to action in March, Didia extended her win streak in the Tom Benson Memorial at Fair Grounds, followed by the Modesty (G3) at Churchill Downs, and then was a credible second in the New York (G1) behind loose-on-the-lead Marketsegmentation.
Also coming off of a narrow loss in top-level company is Fev Rover, who prevented the Diana (G1) from being a clean sweep for trainer Chad Brown by finishing third, a half-length behind the star pair of Whitebeam and In Italian. Fev Rover had previously won two of four starts at Woodbine, including the July 1 Nassau (G2) in convincing fashion over Canadian Horse of the Year Moira.
The aforementioned Brown, who has won the Beverly D. a record six times, saddles Gina Romantica and Rocky Sky. Gina Romantica has been on both the winning and losing side of facing stablemates in her last two starts, defeating McKulick in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland last October but only finishing fourth to Consumer Spending in the Eatontown (G3) at Monmouth in her season debut June 17.
Rocky Star enters the Beverly D. following a spell dating to November. Last seen finishing second in the Long Island (G3), she had previously captured the Waya (G3), also run over 1 3/8 miles at Aqueduct.
The field of seven also includes Romagna Mia, who edged the recently deceased Sopran Basilea by a neck in the Premio Lydia Tesio (G2) in Rome last October. However, the Team Valor-owned filly has gone unplaced in four interim starts in Qatar and France.
The Beverly D., contested over 1 3/16 miles, is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep for the Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita in November.
Colonial Downs is an appropriate new home for the $500,000 Secretariat (G2), a one-mile grass test for three-year-olds, given the race’s legendary namesake was bred in Virginia. The competitive field of eight includes multiple graded stakes winner Major Dude and More Than Looks, who defeated returning rival Nagirroc in the Manila (G3) at Belmont Park in early July.
Silver Knott, who made a notable first impression in his U.S. debut last fall when missing by a nose in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), will look to rebound off less impressive outings in the Pennine Ridge (G2) and Belmont Derby (G1). Transylvania (G3) winner Mo Stash appears the likely pacesetter, while Northern Invader takes a big step up in class following an eight-length maiden win over the turf at Belmont.