Chicago Barn to Wire


Arlington Park Stakes Results

Contact: David Zenner (847) 385-7535


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, I ll. (August 18, 2001) -- Edouard de Rothschild's England's Legend, proved to have an affinity for off going as she got off to an early lead and cruised to a 7-length victory in the 12th running of the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes Saturday at Arlington Park.

With its $700,000 purse, the Beverly D. is the richest distaff event ever to be contested in the state of Illinois, and along with the Arlington Million and $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, Illinois' only three Grade I races, comprise Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing.

Corey Nakatani rode the French-bred daughter of Lure who set fractions of :24.85, :49.29, 1:13.97 and 1:37.77 en route to a final time of 1:56.75, second slowest time in the 10 previous runnings at the current 1 3/16-mile distance (the 1987 inaugural edition of the race was a 1 1/6-mile race). The turf course was officially listed as yielding following intermittent showers earlier in the day.

"She's a very special filly," said Nakatani, who won the 1995 edition of the race with Possibly Perfect. "She's done everything Chris (trainer Clement) has asked her, and everything I've asked her. I was trying to get them to bring her out to California to run against (race favorite) Astra earlier. You can throw anything at her and she can handle it. She's a filly with a lot of style."

The Beverly D. was the third straight win and fifth victory in eight starts overall for the Christophe Clement-trained 4-year-old, who earned $420,000 for the score to nearly triple her bankroll to $638,128.

The Seven Seas, who broke from the far outside post in the nine-horse field, rallied from eighth position on the second turn to finish second. Despite the runner-up finish, jockey Alex Solis was pleased with his filly's performance.

"We had an awesome trip, she relaxed very nice," he said. "At the quarter pole, I saw them all dead in front of me and thought I was going to win easy and then I looked up and saw another horse way in front of me and said, 'Well, I'm going to be second.' I don't think any of the other horses were capable of going with Corey's horse early. Going :24 and :49 on a yielding course like this is like going :23 and :46 on a firm track. She was the best filly today, that's all."

Spook Express, the South African-bred but East Coast-based 7-year-old mare, as is her custom was far back in the early going and closed well to run third.

"The pace was slow, and the ground was soft," said her jockey, Mike Smith. "She tried over it, but she couldn't really handle it. She's got so much heart."

Astra, the 7-10 betting favorite, could not get a hold off the soft course and finished last.

"She's such a magnificently built mare," said Astra's rider, Kent Desormeaux. "She's probably 1,200-1,300 pounds and every stride she's going six feet into the ground instead of a couple of inches like a lighter framed filly. She's just too big and she dug herself a trench around herself and she couldn't climb out of it. She spent the entire race just trying to keep her legs under her. She was just trying to maintain her balance. She just didn't care for the going."

The 9-2 second choice, England's Legend paid $11.00, $6.00 and $4.60. The Seven Seas returned $8.60 and $6.40. Spook Express paid $7.00.

Additional quotes:

Todd Kabel (Only To You, 4th):
"The winner was the only speed in the race. Corey (Nakatani, aboard the winner England's Legend) backed it up pretty good and that makes it real tough for closers. She wasn't handling the (yielding) turf too well on the backside but she was handling okay down the lane.

Robby Albarado (Solvig, 5th):
I was trying to follow McCarron's horse and Megans Bluff up the inside and they kind of stopped right in front of me. Undoubtedly, I wouldn't have gotten to the winner, but I think I might have gotten second or third had I been able to get out.

Craig Perret (Megans Bluff, 7th):
"We were up against it today. I thought she was going to get third inside the sixteenth pole, but the track was tiring and it took its toll."

Chris McCarron (Kalatiara, 8th):
"There was no speed on paper. I thought Corey (Nakatani, on the winner England's Legend), Craig (Perret on Megans Bluff) and myself that we had the only fillies with any kind of speed and they're not really speed horses either. Corey slowed it down and his filly relaxed for him. I don't think my filly got across it (the yielding turf) real well. She got tired too easily. She's a very fit filly and I've been getting on her every week. I was disappointed that I started running out of horse at the three-eighths pole, even though she was somewhat in contention. I wasn't confident at all there because I had to ride her. She may not have been best on the off going but that's just a guess."

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