Saturday, Aug. 8, Arlington Park
The Low-Down: The Grade 1 Beverly D. is one of three Grade 1 races on a stakes-packed Saturday card at Arlington leading up to the feature, the Arlington Million. PURE CLAN headlines the field and will likely head the betting, and she enters this off a solid win over a short field in the Grade 3 Modesty over this turf course. European invaders ALNADANA and MAD ABOUT YOU will try to give her a run for her money, as will Grade 1 winner BLACK MAMBA and the rapidly improving POINTS OF GRACE.
Our Eyes: PURE CLAN has certainly relied on her consistency as much as anything. She has failed to hit the board just once in her 13-race career, and she has held her own at this Grade 1 level in the past. Her last, though against only four others, was quite impressive as she raced wide and simply took off when her rider asked. She barely took a deep breath that day and could be sitting on a peak performance in her third start back off the layoff. She's the real deal, and undoubtedly the one to beat, though she figures to be a short price on the tote.
ALNADANA appears to be the best of the Europeans and she certainly is moving in the right direction at this point in time, having won over a mile in France in her last, and she seemed to have quite a bit left in the tank that day. Her run two back was quite solid, and the gal who ran third in the event at Epsom has also run third to 2008 Breeders' Cup Mile champion Goldikova. It does not appear that the distance will pose much of a problem for ALNADANA right now, and seeing her colors in the winner's circle would certainly be no surprise
MAD ABOUT YOU has no doubt been better, as she ran a good third to the top filly Zarkava when she was a 2-year old, but she's been struggling a little in recent tries. The angle here could be that she's stretching back out after a string of seven and 8-furlong tries, and that could help move her up. She runs for one of the world's best trainers, Ireland's Dermot Weld, and it would seem he didn't ship her over here for the fun of it. I'm not totally sold, but would be hesitant to count her out of it entirely.
BLACK MAMBA is a New Zealand-bred mare who has been knocking heads with some of the best filly and mare turfers around in the last few years, and she enters this race off her second consecutive win in the Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park. She's a Grade 1 winner, but she does have a propensity for settling for minor awards, and in this field of tough ladies, that seems the most likely outcome once her late run is said and done.
POINTS OF GRACE, a lightly-raced daughter of Point Given, has spent the better part of 2009 progressing straight up to this race. She was an upset winner of the Grade 2 Dance Smartly over the Woodbine grass course in her last try, and she's remarkably consistent, having missed the exacta just once in eight career tries. Not sure she'll get the same kind of pleasant trip up front that she did last time with the presence of TIZAQUEENA here, but she'll offer a fair price and she's heading the right way. She looks like a strong potential upset play.
The Bottom Line: It's tough to get past PURE CLAN in this spot, as she's so consistent and she just seems so good right now. ALNADANA and POINTS OF GRACE look like the top threats to her, while MAD ABOUT YOU and BLACK MAMBA have a chance to factor in the exotics. I'll focus my plays on exactas using PURE CLAN over ALNADANA and POINTS OF GRACE, and perhaps play a few minor saver bets reversing those in case PURE CLAN runs second.
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