Godolphin Racing's Crimson Palace found American racing to her liking Saturday, winning the $750,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) in the closing strides at Arlington Park.
Crimson Palace, a South African-bred 5-year-old mare by Elliodo, ridden by Frankie Dettori for trainer Saaed bin Suroor, reached the front in deep stretch, holding off Riskaverse on the inside and Necklace on her outside for a half-length victory. The final time was 1:56 2/5 on a firm course for the 1 3/16-mile Beverly D. Riskaverse, with Pat Day aboard, nipped Necklace and Jamie Spencer, another European invader, by a head for third.
"She showed she had the class to win a Grade or Group I," bin Suroor said. "Well have to see how she comes back, but we'll consider the Breeders' Cup."
Crimson Palace was racing on her fourth continent and her rider Dettori had to borrow boots and pants when his luggage was lost.
``I had an odd boot and somebody else's britches. It's lucky that all the jockeys are the same size,'' Dettori said with a laugh.
Dettori, who performed his customary victory dismount leap off Crimson Palace after the race, got his first win in five tries in the Beverly D.
The German-bred Aubonne, ridden by Edgar Prado, established the early lead over 2-1 favorite Musical Chimes, who broke on top for Kent Desormeaux. The two carried the compact field of 11 through moderate fractions of :24 4/5, :49 4/5 and 1:15 2/5.
In the stretch, Crimson Palace, moving at just the right time after stalking the leaders on their outside, edged ahead of Musical Chimes as Riskaverse, saving ground throughout, screamed for room along the inside. Riskaverse eventually got through, but could not catch the winner.
"The pace was slow so I got a little stacked up in the turn," day said. "Once I got room she gave me a big effort. She came back after just two weeks rest so I think that was a nice race for her."
Necklace, a standout last year at 2 in Europe but winless in 2004, turned in by far her best effort of the year, closing resolutely on the outside but just a bit late.
Musical Chimes, a neck behind Necklace, finished fourth.
"There was no pace in the race," complained Neil Drysdale, trainer of the favortie, afterward. "That was our problem. This filly wants to come from off the pace and she ended up on the lead."
Crimson Palace, a group I winner in South Africa in December 2002 for trainer Mike de Kock, was coming off a sixth-place showing in the Windsor Forest Stakes (Eng-II) at Ascot June 16. Prior to that, she won the Middleton Stakes (Eng-III) at York in May. She was fourth against males in the 1 1/8-mile Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) at Nad Al Sheba in March. Crimson Palace was bought in South Africa last year by Team Valor, which won a race with her in Dubai, then sold her privately to Godolphin.
"I think maybe the straight track at Ascot was a bit too much for her," Dettori noted. She handled the turns here very well. She was in control and showed a good kick. It's great to get her back to the way she was because she ran a couple of disappointing races back home. A great job by the team to get her back together."
She earned $450,000 for her seventh win in 11 starts, more than doubling her career bankroll to $663,278.
The sixth choice in the field, she paid $21.80, $11 and $9. Riskaverse returned $8 and $7. Necklace's show was $11.80. The exacta was worth $216.40.
Bedanken followed Musical Chimes, and she was followed by Aubonne, Aud, Shaconage,Commercante, Quero Quero and Noches De Rosa.