Euro Charline, a stakes winner at Ascot three weeks ago, soared through the stretch under a well-timed ride by Ryan Moore to upset the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) in her U.S. debut Aug. 16 at Arlington International Racecourse (VIDEO).
It was the first graded or group victory for the 3-year-old British-bred daughter of Myboycharlie. The 10-1 shot races for Barry Irwin's Team Valor International and is trained by Marco Botti.
Moore had a clear path through the lane as Euro Charline took command in deep stretch. She held off the late charge of favored Stephanie's Kitten, who had to weave through traffic in the drive, to win by three-quarters of a length. Just the Judge, another first-time U.S. starter, finished third, a neck farther back in the field of 11 fillies and mares.
"She traveled real sweet and kicked on nicely like a good filly would," Moore said after scoring his second grade I win on the card following Adelaide in the Secretariat Stakes a race earlier.
"It's been a good day, not so bad so far," Moore understated.
"Haven't stopped shaking yet, I knew she was going to have a good run," Botti said.
Euro Charline, who raced without Lasix, was timed in 1:55.52 for 1 3/16 miles over firm turf. She is the first 3-year-old to win the Beverly D., inaugurated in 1987, and benefited from a six-pound weight break over the remainder of the field.
The race was a Breeders' Cup challenge event, guaranteeing the connections for Euro Charline an expenses-paid starting berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park this fall.
Bred by Brian Liversage out of the Common Grounds mare Eurolink Artemis, the winning bay filly sold for $21,901 to Sc Blueberry at the 2012 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale when consigned by Old Buckenham Stud, and was acquired privately by Team Valor.
Irwin said Euro Charline would remain in the states with trainer Todd Pletcher.
"(Botti) talked me into running here. He's been bugging me a month, and I finally gave in," Irwin said. "He thought she'd get the trip, but I wasn't sure because three-year-olds normally don't do as well in this race, and this filly is nuts. What really convinced me was getting a direct flight here."
Winner of a minor stakes July 25 at Ascot, she actually tipped her ability in the prior start when she finished third in the one-mile Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) June 20 during the Royal Ascot meet, just three-quarters of length behind the top-notch Rizeena.
Guided to the rail by Moore in the early stages of the Beverly D., Euro Charline was rated lightly in midpack and was patiently handled into the final turn when given her cue while angling off the inside. La Tia sprinted to the early lead over I'm Already Sexy and Just the Judge, then slowed the tempo while unfurling quarter mile fractions of :24.44, :49.90, and 1:13.56.
La Tia opened up a 2 1/2-length lead in the lane as I'm Already Sexy retreated after a mile in 1:37.73. Euro Charline, five wide in upper stretch, reached contention at the furlong marker and drove past La Tia in the closing stages while holding Stephanie's Kitten safe to the wire.
Stephanie's Kitten, who trailed the field for Franke Dettori while saving some ground for six furlongs, produced her usual big finish while splitting horses and edged Just the Judge and Jamie Spencer for second.
Dettori was irritated by his trip on Stephanie's Kitten.
"She was slow at the beginning. She walked out, I couldn't keep my position, then I'm screwed, then I'm in jail without a key," he complained. "And I weaved my way through, but the winner got a dream run for free on me and it's over. Bye bye. I warmed her up good, but age is telling now and the young ones are more spring chickens."
La Tia was half a length farther back in fourth, followed by Diana (gr. IT) winner Somali Lemonade, I'm Already Sexy, Street of Gold, Sparkling Beam, Emollient, Tannery, and 3-1 second choice Alterite.
Lightly raced Euro Charline won for the fourth time in seven starts and extended her career earnings to $591,792. The Beverly D. victory was worth $427,500.
Sent off as the sixth choice in the well-matched field, Euro Charline paid $23.60, $10.60, and $3.20. Ken and Sarah Ramsey's grade I winner Stephanie's Kitten, still winless in 2014, returned $4.40 and $3.20, and was part of a $131.40 exacta. Just the Judge, coming off a third-place finishing the Newbridge Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) June 29 at the Curragh for trainer Charlie Hills, paid $5.80 to show.