Just how dominant has trainer Chad Brown been in the $600,000 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. III) at Arlington Park?
Well, for starters, he’s won the race on four occasions, including the last three renewals. For good measure, his runners earned first and second prize in both 2017 and 2015, so in recent years, handicapping the Beverly D. has been as simple as zeroing in on Brown’s contenders and going from there.
Unfortunately, Brown will make things a little trickier this year by sending out four of the nine starters for Saturday’s renewal of the Beverly D. Stakes. The depth of his participation is not surprising—as a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I), this race is a major prize on the summer racing schedule—but separating Brown’s runners could be easier said than done.
That said, of the quartet, #3 Sistercharlie and #7 Fourstar Crook do appear to be a cut above the others. The accomplished Sistercharlie kicked off 2018 with a decisive 2 ¼-length victory over Fourstar Crook in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland before falling a head short of catching her stablemate in an unusual edition of the New York Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park, a race in which the field spread out over 28 ½ lengths during the first half-mile.
However, Sistercharlie rebounded sharply from that narrow defeat to win the Diana Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga by a nose. She’s returning just three weeks after that victory, but she demonstrated in the Belmont Oaks (gr. I) last summer that she can handle a quick turnaround just fine, and the 1 3/16-mile distance of the Beverly D. should fall right within her ideal distance range.
As for Fourstar Crook, she hasn’t run since winning the New York, but she’s been something of a winning machine with 11 victories from 17 starts, and if Sistercharlie encounters any sort of trouble, Fourstar Crook should be the one to take advantage.
#9 Athena, a three-year-old filly trained by Aidan O’Brien, might be the best of the rest. The Irish-bred daughter of Camelot has already made one successful foray to North America, rallying to score a decisive victory in the Belmont Oaks (gr. I) last month, and as a three-year-old, she’ll carry six pounds less than her older rivals. #4 Dona Bruja, who finished in a dead-heat for second in this race last year, will be trying to rebound from a fifth-place finish behind Sistercharlie and Fourstar Crook in the Jenny Wiley Stakes.
I’ll include those two plus #1 Daddys Lil Darling in the trifecta while strongly favoring Sistercharlie and Fourstar Crook for the top spots:
$4 trifecta: 3 with 7 with 1,4,9 ($12)
$3.50 trifecta: 3 with 1,4,9 with 7 ($10.50)
$2.50 trifecta: 7 with 3 with 1,4,9 ($7.5)