For the first time in its 28-year history the Beverly D. had a South American accent.
Dacita, a 6-year-old mare who was born in Chile and began her racing career there, made a powerful four-wide stretch run on the Arlington International Racecourse grass course and won Saturday's Grade I $600,000 race for fillies and mares by a ½ length.
Winning entailed overtaking another South American import, the Argentine-bred 5-year-old Dona Bruja, who moved to America from her homeland this year. After losing the lead nearing the finish line Dona Bruja had to answer the challenge of Grand Jete to dead heat for second.
Like Dacita, Grand Jete is trained by Chad Brown. But this 4-year-old filly from Sheikh Khalid Abdullah's thoroughbred empire was bred in Great Britain and raced in France before being imported to the U.S. this year.
Dacita is co-owned by the Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds ownership groups and she has the distinction of being the unprecedented fourth winner of the 1 3/16 mile race for Brown, the nation's leading trainer. Brown's previous conquests came with Stacelita in 2011, Watsdachances in 2015 and Sea Calisi last year.
Brown wasn't at Arlington to celebrate either Dacita's victory or Beach Patrol's trip to the winner's circle for the second straight year in Saturday's main event, the Arlington Million. He was at Saratoga where his stable is headquartered. In Brown's absence his assistant, Jose Hernandez, saddled the horses.
In the opening three quarters she was running eighth in the field of 10, well off the pace, and Peter Bradley of the Sheep Pound Group was concerned because of the relatively slow pace on the front end, fearing that jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. would have too much ground to make up.
"When it was :49.34 at the half I was a little worried," he said. "She's a stone cold closer so I was hoping they weren't going too slow. But he had her close enough. When she started moving I knew we were in good shape if she made her usual kick."
Dacita delivered, crossing the finish line in 1:55.49 2/5 to win for the fifth time in 10 races in the U.S. and kick back betting payoffs of $15.60, $5 and $4.40.
"I found her when she was a filly in Chile," Bradley said. "South America is a very tough place to buy horses. The best ones are as good as any in the world in any given year. But other years there are just good horses.
"This one had been a champion in Chile. She set records in three or four stakes. She was an elite filly. You don't find many like her in the world. We were able to put together a deal to purchase this filly in December 2014 and we sent her to Chad."
The Beverly D. is a race in the Breeders' Cup Win and You're In program and by virtue of her victory she earned a starting slot in the $2 million Filly and Mare Turf that will be run on Breeders' Cup weekend at Del Mar on Nov. 3 and 4.