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Beverly D. Definitely On Thistle Bird's Radar

Thistle Bird, whose connections have long considered the Grade I Beverly D. for their charge, finally broke through the Group I barrier this past weekend, annexing the Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh over Coolmore’s well regarded Venus De Milo by 2¾ widening lengths.  Managed carefully throughout her career, the 6-year-old daughter of George Strawbridge’s brilliant miler Selkirk was only making her twentieth career start and third at top level.

Often racing against the best females in Europe, including Dank, Duntle and Gifted Girl, the bay mare may now have a chance to do what that trio did in 2013 and ship across the pond to attempt Grade I glory in America.  Trainer Roger Charlton has indicated that the Beverly D. is definitely on her radar, as she not only appreciates fast ground, but has performed exceedingly well at left-handed courses - including back-to-back victories in the Group II Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom.  In 2013, Gifted Girl used a second behind Thistle Bird en route to a second in the Beverly D.  Also possible for Thistle Bird are the Group I Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville in late August and Group I Nassau Stakes in early August, in which she finished second in 2013 while beating Group I winners Sky Lantern, Sajjhaa and Ambivalent.

Stateside, two quality fillies sprinted the Belmont Park stretch to easily best their rivals when Juddmonte Farm’s Riposte and Richard Santulli’s Tannery ran one-two in a formful renewal of the Grade II New York Handicap.  The long-winded Riposte, a winner of the Group II Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last year, was winning her first graded stakes below 1 3/8 miles.  Unlike her victorious rival, Tannery has consistently been a force at distances closer to the Beverly D.’s 1 3/16 miles, winning the Grade I E. P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine last year and finishing second in the Grade I Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont - both at 1¼ miles.

Upcoming races to watch include the Grade III Modesty Handicap at the Beverly D.’s course and distance, as well as the Group II Kilboy Estates Stakes at The Curragh in Ireland.  The latter was used by Dank in 2013 en route to Beverly D. glory and looks to be the target of highly regarded sophomore filly My Titania.  The Modesty could include Juddmonte Farm’s Group I winner and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf runner-up Romantica - a daughter of champion and runaway Breeders’ Cup winner Banks Hill - as well as Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s multiple Grade I-placed Emotional Kitten. Locally based stakes horses Kepi, I O Ireland, Alette and Gulsary make for what could be a supremely competitive renewal of the event.


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