Heat Haze Blazes Home in Beverly D.

Juddmonte Farm's Heat Haze waited until mid-stretch with jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. before mowing down her rivals on the outside, capturing the $700,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) for fillies and mares on the Arlington Park turf Saturday.

In oppressive 90-degree humidity, Heat Haze, a 4-year-old daughter of Green Desert, gave trainer Bobby Frankel his 18th grade I victory in 2003.

"Bobby told me as long as she was relaxed and pulling it was okay. She was very relaxed," Valdivia said. "At the 3/8 pole, I knew I had a horse under me. She has an enormous turn of foot. After she switched leads, I saw the opening, just tapped her twice with the stick and she was gone."

Heat Haze trailed the compact field of seven into the stretch, but blew by down the lane to win by 1 1/4 length over pacesetter Bien Nicole, who ran a big race to be second with Don Pettinger aboard. Riskaverse, who tracked the front runner from the outside throughout, held on for third, a half-length behind the runner-up. The final time for the 1 3/16-mile Beverly D. was 1:55 4/5 on a turf course rated good.

"She might be the best turf filly in our barn right now," said Humberto Ascanio, Frankel's assistant trainer.

"We had a big thrill down the stretch run," Pettinger said. "We held off all of them but one. There were some nice mares in there."

Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel, trainer of Bien Nicole, chimed in, "We're thrilled. You'd like to win but I don't know how we could have run any better. These are best turf mares in the world. To be second, we're thrilled."

Second choice Dublino faded in the stretch to be fifth under Kent Desormeaux after pressuring the pacesetter throughout. Afterward, trainer Laura de Seroux was less than pleased.

"I wasn't happy with her laying second because that's not her style, slow pace or not," she said. "I'd have rather had her back where Heat Haze was because she's a closer."

But Desormeaux defended the ride.

"I just don't think it was her day," he said. "These are the kind of things that you find out tomorrow, why she didn't give her best.  We were crawling. I enjoyed my position all the way around the track.
She ran out of steam in that canter, so we have to check the engine."

Heat Haze won for the fourth time in five United States starts since transferring here from France in December. Her only loss U.S. defeat came in her last start in the July 26 Diana (gr. IT) at Saratoga, when she was second by a neck to Voodoo Dancer. Heat Haze, ridden that day by Jerry Bailey, was too close to the pace, Frankel felt, and he returned Valdivia to the irons. The Southern California-based jockey had been aboard Heat Haze for wins in the 6 1/2-furlong Las Cienegas (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita in April and in the Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs a month later.

Earning $420,000 for the victory, Heat Haze now has six wins in 11 career starts. She more than doubled her career bankroll to $740,778 whole recording her first triumph at a distance longer than a mile.

The English-bred filly is from the dam Hasili, by Kahyasi.

The 8-5 favorite paid $5.40, $3.80 and $2.80. Bien Nicole returned $12.80 and $5.60. Riskaverse, who was ridden by Pat Day, paid $4.20 to show. The $2 exacta was worth $107.

(Chart, Equibase)