ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Dacita added to the remarkable legacy Chad Brown has built in relatively short order when getting a terrific ride from Irad Ortiz Jr. in posting a half-length victory Saturday in the 28th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Beverly D. at Arlington Park.
It was the third straight Beverly D. win, and fourth in the last seven runnings, for Brown, the New York-based trainer who won his first Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer in 2016. Brown usually makes the trip here from Saratoga, but this time he dispatched his staff to Chicago to tend to all of his starters on the Arlington Million card, including Beverly D. starters Dacita, Grand Jete, and Rainha Da Bateria.
Dacita returned $15.60 as fifth choice in a field of 10 fillies and mares after finishing 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.39 over a firm course.
Dona Bruja, the 2-1 favorite, and Grand Jete, the 3-1 second choice, dead-heated for second, another 1 1/4 lengths before late-running Rainha Da Bateria in fourth.
The Beverly D. is a “Win and You’re In” toward the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Del Mar.
Dacita joined Stacelita (2011), Watsdachances (2015), and Sea Calisi (2016) in winning the Beverly D. for Brown. A 6-year-old Chilean-bred mare, Dacita is owned by Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds. She has won 10 of 19 career starts, with the $345,600 winner’s share lifting her career bankroll to $1,398,369.
Nearly an hour later, Brown capped his huge day in absentia when Beach Patrol, also owned in partnership by Sheep Pond, captured the Million, the track’s annual showcase event.
Zipesa set the pace in the Beverly D., but by the quarter-pole a wall of horses was poised behind her ready to pounce. Hawksmoor was first, but she soon was engulfed, first by Dona Brujo, then by others, most notably Dacita.
Always in a comfortable rhythm after getting away in good order from her rail post, Dacita had saved ground into the first turn before being angled out by Ortiz midway down the backstretch for a clear run. By the furlong pole, she appeared the most likely winner, and indeed, she emerged from the pack to edge off under strong handling.
“I got a perfect trip,” Ortiz said. “I got the one-hole and broke out of there and got close – I didn’t want to be too far. I saved all the ground and she was there for me.”
Meanwhile, Grand Jete had a tougher time, stuck down near the rail and in traffic. Jockey Joel Rosario finally got her loose approaching the sixteenth pole, but by then, Dacita had a decided edge. The photo finish could not separate Grand Jete from Dona Bruja under the wire.
Dacita was coming off a rare subpar effort when finishing sixth in the Grade 2 New York Stakes during Belmont Stakes week at her home track. With five breezes in the interim, clearly she returned to peak form in the Beverly D., giving her four graded victories since being imported from South America. The Diana last summer at Saratoga was her only prior Grade 1 triumph.
Until Saturday, Brown had been tied with Christophe Clement for most wins in race history with three apiece.