After enduring an eventful trip in her American debut in the July 2 United Nations S. (G1), French highweight Stacelita (Fr) (Monsun) enjoyed a dream passage in Saturday's $750,000 Beverly D. S. (G1) at Arlington Park. The 9-5 favorite was given a rail-skimming ride by new jockey Ramon Dominguez, and her abundant class took care of the rest to hand owner Martin Schwartz his third trophy in the Arlington Million's (G1) sister race.
Stacelita, who joined trainer Chad Brown following her troubled third last time out, drafted in the slipstream of pacesetter Dubawi Heights (GB) (Dubawi) through splits of :24, :49 4/5, 1:15 2/5 and 1:40 3/5. Never Retreat (Smart Strike) stalked on the outside in second, and ranged up to challenge the leader turning into the stretch. But Never Retreat's stamina ebbed, and Dubawi Heights had no difficulty in repelling her bid.
Meanwhile, Stacelita was looming as a much more formidable threat. Still glued to the fence, Stacelita slipped through along the inside as Dubawi Heights came out, and the classy French import surged to the front. Just behind her, River Jetez (SAf) (Jet Master) was gaining traction, but the globetrotting mare couldn't pick up as well as the winner, and never got by a game Dubawi Heights either.
Stacelita, under confident handling, eased 1 1/4 lengths clear and completed 1 3/16 miles in 1:57 2/5 on the yielding turf course. The betting public's choice returned $5.60, $3.80 and $2.80.
"I had an absolutely wonderful trip," Dominguez said. "I was able to sit right off the leader. Nice and relaxed, comfortable fractions. Turning for home, once I found a seam on the rail, I had to go for it and she reached for it great."
"This is my third Beverly D. winner," Schwartz enthused. "Gorella (Fr) won in 2006 and Angara (GB) won in 2005. Stacelita and Chad Brown are both fantastic. Stacelita has been a magnificent animal since I first saw her, and Chad has been a magnificent animal since I first saw him."
Dubawi Heights held off River Jetez by a head for runner-up honors.
"She ran great," jockey Joel Rosario said of Dubawi Heights. "I tried to slow it down as much as I possibly could and let her go turning for home. She responded well, but the winner is just so good that our best wasn't good enough today."
Another 2 1/2 lengths back in fourth came Fantasia (GB) (Sadler's Wells), who was a neck up on Upperline (Maria's Mon). Defending champion Eclair de Lune (Ger) (Marchand de Sable) wound up sixth, followed by Never Retreat, Pachattack (Pulpit), Cheetah (GB) (Tiger Hill), Check the Label (Stormin Fever) and Romin Robin (Pure Precision).
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Stacelita opened her five-year-old campaign with a pair of third-place efforts versus males. Beaten 3 1/4 lengths by the smart Cirrus des Aigles (Even Top [Ire]) as the defending champion in the June 13 La Coupe at Longchamp, she made her final start for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget in the United Nations. Stacelita had a rough go of it that day at Monmouth, where she was interfered with on the clubhouse turn, made a premature move, and was outfinished late by Teaks North (Northern Afleet) and Chinchon (Ire) (Marju).
Bred by Jean Pierre Joseph Dubois in France, Stacelita is a close relative of Group 2 hero Simoun (Monsun) and Group 3-placed stakes winner Soudaine (Monsun). She is the first registered foal from the Group 3-placed stakes victress Soignee (Ger) (Dashing Blade), herself a half-sister to Simoun, Soudaine and stakes scorer Shining (Surumu). This is the family of American champion turf horse Steinlen (GB) (Habitat), winner of the 1989 Arlington Million and Breeders' Cup Mile (G1); Zagreb (Theatrical [Ire]), hero of the 1996 Irish Derby (Ire-G1); and further back, French co-champion and 1984 Arc winner Sagace (Fr) (Luthier) and 1985 Derby (Eng-G1) romper Slip Anchor (Shirley Heights).
Derby winner Orb was unable to find his rhythm after breaking from the rail, and never challenged in finishing fourth as Oxbow ran away with the Preakness Stakes.