Favored Stacelita added a grade I North American victory to her stellar record when she used a rail-skimming ride by jockey Ramon Dominguez to capture the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park Aug. 13 (VIDEO).
Martin Schwartz owns the French-bred 5-year-old mare. Stacelita, who was third facing males in the United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park last month, raced for the first time for trainer Chad Brown.
The victory provides an automatic berth for Stacelita in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) as a "Win and You're In" challenge series event.
“This is my third Beverly D winner," Schwartz said. "Gorella won in 2006 and Angara won in 2005. Stacelita and Chad Brown are both fantastic. Stacelita has been a magnificent animal since I first saw her and Chad has been a magnificent animal since I first saw him."
Stacelita, previously trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, returned to the winner's circle for the first time since taking the Prix Jean Romanet (Fr-I) at Deauville nearly one year ago.
Sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the field of 11, the solid black mare Stacelita completed the 1 3/16-mile distance in 1:57.57 over a yielding turf after heavy rain earlier in the day. She surpassed $2 million in career earnings.
Well-spotted after breaking alertly at the trail, Stacelita raced just behind pacesetter Dubawi Heights, with defending Beverly D. winner Eclair de Lune and Never Retreat also in contention on the outside. Quarter-mile fractions were :24.15, :49.97, and 1:15.49.
Dubawi Heights, ridden by Joel Rosario, led the field into the stretch but came off the pine allowing room for a patient Dominguez to exploit with Stacelita. The daughter of Monsun responded well to get the lead near mid-stretch. After dueling briefly with Dubawi Heights, Stacelita took command in the final sixteenth of a mile to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
“I had an absolutely wonderful trip," Dominguez said. "I was able to sit right off the leader. Nice and relaxed, comfortable fractions. Turning for home, once I found a seam on the rail; I had to go for it and she reached for it great.”
Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) winner Dubawi Heights, whose four-race win streak came to an end, held on stubbornly for second by a head over the closing second choice River Jetez, the South African mare ridden by European Christophe Soumillon.
"I tried to slow it down as much as I possibly could and let her go turning for home," Rosario said of the runner-up. "She responded well but the winner is just so good that our best wasn't good enough today."
Stacelita, winner of the French Oaks (gr. IT) in 2009, earned her ninth victory from 14 lifetime starts. She boosted her purse total to $2,071,241 with the winner's share of $427,500. She was defeated by one length in the 11-furlong United Nations after taking the lead in the stretch but yielding late to Teaks North on firm going July 2.
Jean Pierre Joseph Dubois bred Stacelita, who is out of the Dashing Blade mare Soignee. She hails from the female family of champions Steinlein, Zagreb, Schonbrunn, and Sagace.
Under equal weights of 123 pounds, Stacelita paid $5.60, $3.80, $2.80. Dubawi Heights, a 4-year-old Great Britain-bred daughter of Dubawi, was game while setting the pace and returned $6.80 and $5.20. The exacta was worth $57.40. River Jetez, a much-traveled 12-time winner of more than $2 million, was $3.60 to show for trainer Michale de Kock.
Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) winner Fantasia finished 2 1/2 lengths back in fourth, followed by Upperline, Eclair de Lune, Never Retreat, Pachattack, Cheetah, Check the Label, and Romin Robin.