Twenty Years after her Beverly D. Triumph, Possibly Perfect at 25
By Tom Ferry
With the 26th running of the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington International Racecourse just days away, she remains unquestionably perfect.
|Possibly Perfect - Photo courtesy Tom Ferry|
Where does the time go? The Beverly D. continues to be one of America’s premiere turf races for fillies and mares age 3 years old and up and the past two decades have showcased champions such as Flawlessly, Hatoof, Stacelita and Dank. But twenty years ago this week, Possibly Perfect left the Arlington winner’s circle with the blanket of flowers and her Beverly D. triumph was the icing on the cake for an Eclipse Award-winning season.
It was the culmination to a journey that began on May 25, 1990 when the Northern Baby foal was born to Avasand, by Avatar, at Frank and Jackie Ramos’ Ashleigh Stud near Paris, Kentucky. Owned and bred by Robert and Geri Witt of Blue Vista Inc., Possibly Perfect was raised at Ashleigh and Frank Ramos saw her competitive spirit from the very beginning.
“When she was young, she was very hard to get along with,” recalls Ramos. “When I broke her, I got on her and she dropped me, I hit the fence and dislocated my shoulder. I hired a boy to get on her and she kept dropping him every five minutes. So I got back on her after that and she was different because she knew me. But she was still a tough nut. I took her everywhere. In bushes, between cars and nothing would ever faze her.”
Soon afterwards, Possibly Perfect was sent to the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. Frankel sent her to Europe for training and she competed in three nondescript races in France as a two-year-old. She returned to the U.S. for her three-year-old season and Frankel had concerns. He suspected she might have a tendon problem when she crossed her legs while walking. He also worried that she might not be fit. So he gave her additional time to adjust and then entered her in a maiden special on June 23, 1993 against higher-class fillies over a mile and 1/8 route at Hollywood Park. She turned heads and demonstrated greatness to come when she pulled away from the field, breaking her maiden by 3 1/2 lengths under jockey Kent Desormeaux.
“I have fond memories of Possibly Perfect,” recalls Desormeaux. “She had perfect conformation, was a full filly and she was just so fast.”
Throughout her three-year-old season, Possibly Perfect was a model of consistency with victories in three of her first four races and graded stakes placings at Del Mar and Keeneland. She completed the season with an impressive front-running victory in the Grade I $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita. It was the first of what would be six grade one triumphs across her career.
Success continued into the spring of Possibly Perfect’s 4-year-old campaign when she captured the Grade I Santa Ana and Santa Barbara handicaps. Owner Geri Witt has maintained her mare’s success was a testament to the wonderful start she received with Frank and Jackie Ramos at Ashleigh Stud and Frank Ramos goes one step further.
“The reason she was so successful,” says Ramos, “was due to the love and care Bobby Frankel gave her. I’d be walking through the barn area and Bobby would say, ‘Hey! Come here! I want to show you how good she looks. I want you to look at her and just watch her in her next race.’ And sure enough we’d go to the track and she’d end up in the winner’s circle.”
Possibly Perfect reeled off three straight wins to open her 5-year-old season, highlighted by a score in the Grade I Gamely Handicap at Hollywood Park. The victory was her ninth in 12 starts since coming to the United States and reaffirmed her position as likely the best grass mare in the country.
The summer rolled on and she arrived at Arlington Park to contest the mile and one-eighth Beverly D. With three competitors battling her in a thrilling stretch run, Possibly Perfect and jockey Corey Nakatani refused to give up the lead once in front and held off Alice Springs to win by three-quarters of a length. She also avenged her only loss in six starts in 1995 by defeating third place finisher Alpride.
The Beverly D. score would be enough to clinch year-end championship honors in the Filly and Mare Turf division. Later in the fall, Bobby Frankel scratched Possibly Perfect from the Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita in order to point the mare to the Grade I Matriarch at the end of November. Soon afterwards, an X-ray revealed a torn ligament in the horse’s right foreleg. She was promptly retired and returned to Ashleigh Stud where it all began five years prior.
An 18-race career concluded with 11 wins and earnings of $1,377,634. A productive career as a broodmare began the following year in 2006 and continued until Possibly Perfect was pensioned in 2013.
Today, she lives a carefree and relaxed life at Ashleigh Stud. She shares a spacious paddock with other mares including Claire Soleil, the dam of 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Toast of New York. Her health has been fantastic and she looks as if she could load in the gate and run across the turf once more.
But the competitive demeanor Frank Ramos discovered nearly 25 years ago remains and his wife Jackie Ramos sees it every day. “Her personality today is like it was when she was on the track,” says Jackie. “She still wants to be the center of attention. She has a certain amount of independence about her. If you don’t do what she wants, she’ll turn and say, ‘the heck with you.’”
Not unlike what she did to numerous competitors across a championship racing career.