Glen Hill Farm's hard-knocking Marketing Mix will take on eight top fillies and mares from America and Europe in the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 17 at Arlington Park, and a big effort could pave the way for an attempt at the boys later in the year.
According to Craig Bernick of Glen Hill Farm, the races they have in mind are the Breeders' Cup Turf and Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Cup. But first the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro -- Instant Thought, by Kris S, has to pass this test, and it won't come easy, with Group 1 and Group 2 winners from Europe and four graded stakes winners from the U.S. and Canada.
Marketing Mix, who finished second to Zagora in last year's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf for trainer Tom Proctor, has already knocked off the boys, winning the Sunset Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in her last start. She is 2-for-2 in 2013, also claiming Hollywood's Gamely Stakes to start her season May 27.
BEVERLY D. STAKES DRAW
In all, she has won 10 of her 18 career starts for earnings of over $1.8 million. She came close to winning last year's Beverly D., but her powerful rally fell a head short of catching I'm A Dreamer.
Marketing Mix will break from post 6 and will attempt to make it three straight victories with Gary Stevens aboard.
The Beverly D. is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win & You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
"We've had this race circled since after the Breeders' Cup," Bernick said. "She was probably best in this race [the Beverly D.] last year. She had nowhere to go, had to shift wide at the eighth pole and was coming but just didn't get there.
"We'd love to win this race in Chicago. My grandparents [Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Lavin] were both born in Chicago and met after the war. I grew up here, and came to appreciate the Million, Secretariat, and Beverly D. as legitimate international grade I races. It takes a top-class horse to win these races, and hopefully ours gets the job done. She's going great and we're excited to run her."
Although American entrants such as Starformer, Ausus, and Solid Appeal should prove worthy foes, the main danger could come from the trio of European invaders.
Irish-bred and trained Duntle, from the David Wachman barn and owned by Flaxman Holdings, is coming off a solid second to the top-class Elusive Kate in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville. Prior to that, the daughter of Danehill Dancer rattled off five consecutive victories, including the Group 1 Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes, Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes, and Group 3 Amethyst Stakes and Desmond Stakes.
The English-trained Dank,trained by Sir Michael Stoute, is coming off an impressive victory in the Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh. The daughter of Dansili also has victories a pair of Group 3 stakes in England. Ryan Moore comes in for the ride.
Gifted Girl, trained by Paul Cole and ridden by Tom Queally, has won three of her last four starts, including a listed stakes at Pontefract in her last start.
Dank and Gifted Girl both get Lasix for the first time.
The Bill Mott-trained Starformer, coming off a victory in the New York Stakes at Belmont Park, and Canadian invader Solid Appeal, winner of the Dancer Smartly Stakes and Nassau Stakes in her past two starts for Reade Baker, look like the main North American threats to Marketing Mix.
But you can never dismiss the local preps, and the 1 3/16-mile Beverly D has also attracted the first three finishers of Arlington's Modesty Handicap: Ausus, the Shadwell-owned daughter of Invasor; Artemus Kitten, another Kitten's Joy from the powerful Ken and Sarah Ramsey arsenal; and La Tia, who likely will be the pacesetter, breaking from post 1.