Astra Returns to Face England's Legend in Beverly D.

(Edited from track report)
Astra, a disappointment when finishing last as the 7-10 favorite in the 2001 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. I), returns to Arlington Park Saturday to face defending champion England's Legend and four other female turf runners of international caliber in the $700,000 Beverly D.

The 13th running of the Beverly D., a 1 3/16-mile grass race for fillies and mares, is the sister race to the Arlington Million (gr. I), which will also be contested Saturday as part of Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing, the traditional centerpiece of the Chicago Thoroughbred season.

Astra, who races in the colors of Allen E. Paulson's Living Trust, never got hold of the yielding turf in last year's Beverly D. and faded to last after racing wide early in the race, her final start of 2001.

Since returning to action with a third-place finish in the Santa Ana Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita, the 6-year-old daughter of bi-continental champion Theatrical, now trained by Laura de Seroux, has been unstoppable.

In her last three trips to the post, the bay mare has rattled off successive scores in the Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. II), also at Santa Anita, and in Hollywood Park's Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) and the Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. I).

Regular rider Kent Desormeaux, who captured the 1992 Beverly D. astride Kostroma, is slated for the tack.

Baron Edouard de Rothschild's England's Legend, a wire-to-wire victress here one year ago, is back in an attempt to become the first two-time winner of the Beverly D.

The daughter of Lure just missed making it two straight Grade I scores when narrowly beaten in the Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park after making the pace for most of the 10-furlong race. She finished her 2001 season with a disappointing 11th-place finish as the 2-1 favorite in the Breeders' Cup Filly &
Mare Turf (gr. I), also at Belmont.

Trained by Christophe Clement with a fall campaign in mind, the 6-year-old mare has only made one start this year, capturing the Modesty Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington in her typical front-stepping fashion on July 27. Corey Nakatani, who was aboard for her 2001 Beverly D. tally, has a return call on England's Legend.

Also sure to receive support is Gary A. Tanaka's Golden Apples. The daughter of Pivotal beat Astra in the Santa Ana in March but lost to that rival a month later in the Santa Barbara when forced to alter course with an eighth of a mile to run.

In her last start, the Ben Cecil-trained filly made a late rally to finish second to Affluent in the John C. Mabee Ramona Handicap (gr. I) at Del Mar July 27. Pat Valenzuela has the riding assignment.

Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Tates Creek invades from New York for Saturday's Beverly D. A daughter of Rahy out of a Nureyev mare, Tates Creek comes in off back-to-back scores in the East, capturing the Diana Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga in her most recent effort July 27. Conditioned by Hall-of-Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, the 4-year-old filly also shows 2002 victories in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland and a conditioned allowance race at Belmont Park. Hall-of-Fame jockey Jerry Bailey will ride.

Aldridge Racing Ltd.'s Golden Silca is the only European-based horse in this year's Beverly D. The 6-year-old Inchinor mare is winless over her last two campaigns but is group stakes placed this year when second in the Group II Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last month. Named high weight 2-year-old filly in Germany and high weight older filly or mare in England and Ireland as a 4-year-old, Golden Silca is trained by Mick Channon and will have Richard Hughes in the saddle.

Completing the talented lineup for the Beverly D. is Joseph Allen's Volga. The daughter of Caerleon finished second, beaten only a neck, in her last start, the New York Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park. Last year, in her North American debut, she ran second to Choc Ice in the E. P. Taylor (gr. I) at Woodbine Race Course near Toronto. She is also trained by Clement but will race as a separate betting interest from her stablemate, England's Legend. Jose Santos has the mount.

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