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Precious Kitten, Mauralakana, Ccierole Face Local Heroine Dreaming of Anna in Star-Studded Beverly D.
Multiple graded stakes winners Lael Stables’ Precious Kitten, Robert Scarborough’s Mauralakana and locally-based Eclipse Award champion Frank Calabrese’s Dreaming of Anna plus the well-regarded European invader Rothschild Family’s Cicerole are the headline attractions in Saturday’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes.
The $750,000 race, the sister race to the Grade I Arlington Million, will be run at a distance of a mile and three-sixteenths on turf. In addition to its lucrative purse, the Beverly D. offers the winner an automatic starting position in the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf under the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” format, with the winner of each of the Challenge races automatically qualifying for the corresponding divisional race in the 14-race, $25.5 million Breeders' Cup World Championships to be held at Santa Anita Park Oct. 24-25.
Winner of the Grade I Gamely at Hollywood Park in her last start May 26, Precious Kitten has had a light 2008 campaign thus far with a fifth-place finish in the Grade II Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland being her only other start as a 5-year-old. Last year, the daughter of Catienus was queen of the West Coast with scores in the Grade I John C. Mabee and Grade II Palomar handicaps at Del Mar, as well as a victory in the Grade I Matriarch at Hollywood Park.
Precious Kitten, who has been installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite, will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano and hails from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel who has won two previous editions of the race, capturing the 1995 renewal with Possibly Perfect and scoring again in 2003 with Heat Haze.
The French-bred Mauralakana rides a three-race win streak into the Beverly D. with successive scores in the $300,000 Mairzy Doates Handicap at Calder Race Course and the Grade II Sheepshead Bay and Grade II New York handicaps at Belmont Park. The only blemish on her 2008 ledger was a second-place finish in the Grade III Orchid Handicap at Gulfstream Park. Trainer Christophe Clement, also a two-time Beverly D. winner (England’s Legend in 2001 and Royal Highness in 2007), has named Kent Desormeaux, who captured the 1992 Beverly D. astride Kostroma, to ride.
Dreaming of Anna, the Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old filly in 2006, has made a name for herself on turf since winning the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on dirt two years ago. The daughter of Rahy has won eight turf races and has never been worse then second in 11 starts on the grass. The Wayne Catalano-trained 4-year-old is three for four this year with each of her victories coming in Grade III turf stakes – the Endeavour and the Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs, and most recently the Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs. Eclipse Award winning rider Garrett Gomez, who rode Dreaming of Anna in the Mint Julep, gets a return call here.
The Rothschild Family, who campaigned 2001 Beverly D. heroine England’s Legend, sends the French-bred filly Cicerole over for this year’s renewal. Runner-up in the Group III Princess Elizabeth Stakes at England’s Epsom Downs in June, the daughter of Barathea is a multiple listed stakes winner in her native France. Trained by Jean Claude Rouget, the 4-year-old filly will be ridden by Spanish-born reinsman Ioritz Mendizabal.
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Communique is three for five on turf this year with her most recent victory coming in the Grade III Modesty Handicap over this course at the Beverly D. distance four weeks ago. The daughter of Smart Strike is trained by George “Rusty” Arnold II and will be ridden by five-time Arlington Park leading jockey Rene Douglas, who rode Royal Highness to victory in last year’s Beverly D.
Completing the field for the Beverly D. (with rider listed) are: Iron County Farms, Inc.’s Ciao (John Velazquez), third in the Modesty last time out; Runnymede Farm’s Meribel (Robby Albarado), a close third behind Dreaming of Anna in the Endeavour; The Lavington Stud’s Rosinka (Cornelio Velasquez), third in the Grade III Robert G. Dick Memorial Handicap at Delaware Park last month; and French invader Marquesa de Moratalla’s Toque de Queda (John Murtagh), fourth in the Group III Prix Messidor at Maisons-Lafitte last out.