Four consecutive big turf races Saturday at Arlington Park, make Arlington Million Day my favorite day of turf racing as a fan. As a handicapper, carding the four (American St. Leger - Secretariat - Beverly D.- Arlington Million) in succession is appreciated. It makes the all-stakes Pick 4 a wager that I can really sink my teeth (and investment), into. One of my keys to winning the bet will be hitting the absolutely loaded Beverly D. While the eleven-horse field is jam-packed with tough turf fillies and mares, like Stephanie’s Kitten, Somali Lemonade, Emollient, Just the Judge, Euro Charline, and I’m Already Sexy, I do see one possible standout, and her name is Alterite.
Alterite came to America late last summer in strong form. Twice a photo away from becoming a Group 1 winner in her native France, the classy filly only ran three times stateside as a three-year-old, but all three were Grade 1 efforts. After a facile score against a strong field in the Garden City Stakes at Belmont, the daughter of Literato started heading west. She just missed in Keeneland’s prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, before challenging top older mares in the Breeders’ Cup. Proving that she could handle the distance, Alterite finished up full of run before eventually finishing just one length behind the champion, and last year’s Beverly D. winner, Dank.
In her first race back since that strong effort in the BC Filly & Mare Turf, Alterite faded down the stretch of the Grade 1 Diana. A race in which two of her Beverly D. foes, Somali Lemonade and Stephanie’s Kitten ran 1-2. It was also a race that Alterite desperately needed. After more than eight months off, she was both a little too fresh, and a little short, but I fully expect her strong connections to have her primed for the $750,000 big one at Arlington Park.
Alterite’s owner Martin Schwartz has had great success in the Beverly D. in the past. In fact, no owner has won as many editions of the Grade 1 race as Schwartz. He’s visited the winner’s circle with Angara (2005), Gorella (2006), and Stacelita (2011). Meanwhile, her trainer-jockey duo of Chad Brown and Javier Castellano combine to make the most feared turf pair going in the United States. As helpful as the solid connections are, it is Alterite who will need to do most of the work.
After her one start in the Diana, in which she was closer to a slow pace than she prefers, Alterite should be ready to roll. Reports say she is looking great in the mornings, and battling on the pace in the Diana should do a world of good for her conditioning. The fact that she ultimately finished 8th really doesn’t bother me, keep in mind she was only beaten three lengths, but it should effectively drive up her odds a little bit. She should be less keen early on Saturday, with the Diana under her belt, and ready to unleash an impressive turn of foot on the far turn. This Beverly D. field is strong, very strong, but of all the good turf mares in here, Alterite is the one I like clearly best.