German-bred Royal Highness Steals Beverly D.

German-bred Royal Highness Steals Beverly D.
Photo: Four-Footed Fotos
European import Royal Highness takes Beverly D. by a head.

Coming into the $750,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) {VIDEO}, all the talk was about Citronnade and Lady of Venice, two talented American fillies who were undefeated this year. But when the field of seven reached the Arlington Park stretch on Aug. 11, a European mare with only one win in the past two years stole the show.

German-bred Royal Highness came from off the pace, corralled stretch-leader Irridescence in the final strides, and stuck her head in front at the wire to capture her first-career Grade I victory. That earned her a berth in the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf to be held later this year at Monmouth Park.

Going off at odds of 9-1, the 5-year-old Royal Highness covered the 1 3/16-mile on the turf in 1:56.68. She finished just ahead of South African-bred Irridescence, while Lady of Venice finished third. Royal Highness paid $20.40, $9.40, $5.60, with the exacta (7-3) paying $128.00.

Citronnade, who had won five races in a row coming into the race, ran a disappointing fourth. The 4-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid   did not set the pace as she usually does, instead sitting well off the lead while coming four-wide into the stretch. Both 2-1 favorite Citronnade and French-bred Lady of Venice (3-1) were in perfect striking position as they turned for home, but Irridescence and Royal Highness had the best finishing kick.

A daughter of Monsun, Royal Highness was guided home by Rene Douglas, the leading rider at Arlington Park. She is trained by Christophe Clement and owned by Monceaux Stable. It was just her fourth career win in 14 tries and second victory on American turf.

“Turning for home, I knew I had a big chance," said Douglas. "When I got to the other horse (Irridescence), she would not give up but I had to finish really, really hard.”

Longshot Jennie R. set an uncontested pace through the first three-quarters, with fractions of :22.67, :49.90 and 1:14.16. The Kentucky-bred led into the final turn before Irridescence made a strong move to take the lead, gamely trying to stave off the hard-charging Royal Highness, who at first rallied along the rail before Douglas angled her out for the stretch drive.

The second betting choice, Honey Ryder, was never in contention and finished a disappointing sixth.

The footing may have been a problem for Citronnade. “I got a bad break," said Citronnade jockey David Flores. "We had a rough start right away but I ended up in a good position all the way around.  She just wasn’t that comfortable with the track. It was too soft for her.  She tried, but it was just too soft.”

(Chart, Equibase)

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