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Breeders' Cup 2017

Dank to Return to Arlington This Summer

Danks wins the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Photo: Don August
According to the Sir Michael Stoute camp, 2013 Eclipse Champion Turf Mare Dank is in great condition and is headed toward what will be her toughest career test, thus far.  The daughter of Dansili and runaway winner of last year's Beverly D. Stakes is slated to make her second career attempt against males in the Group I $753,885 Prince of Wales's Stakes on Wednesday, June 18, at Royal Ascot.

In her only race since her title-binding victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf in November, James Wigan's 5-year-old star mare turned in a solid and traffic-riddled third to the world's top ranked horse - Just a Way - in the Grade I Dubai Duty Free in late March.  Since, she has returned to England and trained forwardly.  Her connections are hoping for "faster ground" (firm turf) - Dank's preferred footing and the integral incentive for venturing Stateside twice last year.  "It's a really (tough) race.  She's 14-1.  Fingers crossed we have (hot weather) beforehand," said groom and assistant Elaine Westgate.

The Prince of Wales's Stakes is traditionally one of the toughest 10-furlong grass tests on the globe and has been won in the past by the likes of top-ranked world champions Dubai Millennium, Manduro and So You Think as well as Breeders' Cup winners Fantastic Light and Ouija Board.  This year's edition could include Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Treve, Breeders' Cup Turf winner Magician, English Derby winner Ruler of the World, Irish Derby winner Trading Leather and two-time Breeders' Cup runner-up The Fugue.  Interestingly, if Dank, The Fugue and Treve all start, the race will arguably include three of the top four female horses in the world (the fourth being Japan's Gentildonna).  The saltiness of this prospective field is displayed in Dank's ante post odds, which vary from 12-1 to 20-1 in most markets.


The two main objectives for the Stoute-trained filly are to compete once again at the Arlington International Racecourse's International Festival of Racing and subsequently defend her title in the Breeders' Cup.  In 2013, Dank was a close third in the Group II Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot and victorious in the Group II Kilboy Estate Stakes at The Curragh in Ireland before shipping over to best America's top turf fillies and mares by 4¼ lengths.

 

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