Dank in a runaway in Beverly D
It was hardly a wet or dreary day at Arlington International Racecourse for its biggest day of the season.
But that didn't stop Dank, a talented 4-year-old English-bred from stealing the show in the 24th edition of $750,000 Beverly D., a 1¼-mile turf showcase for fillies and mares.
Traveling near the back of the nine-horse field during the early running, Dank made a brilliant move in the stretch to win going away under jockey Ryan Moore by 4¼ lengths over 11-1 longshot Gifted Girl of Ireland.
"(Dank is) a very descriptive word, meaning wet and dreary," said owner James Wigan, who resides some 100 miles south of London. "I just liked the word so I named her that."
The name was just the opposite of the atmosphere Saturday where 34,222 fans watched some of the best international racing of the season under picture-perfect skies.
Dank, who went off the second favorite at 3-1, ran one of the best races for the distance on the Arlington turf course.
The daughter of Dansili was within a tick of 1990 Beverly D. champ Reluctant Guest's time of 1:53.2.
"That's impressive considering she didn't have to be pushed at the end because she was well clear," Wigan said. "It was fantastic. She couldn't have done it more easy."
Things didn't go as easy for highly-regarded Marketing Mix, who made a brief bid on the final turn before leveling off in the stretch.
"She was pulling and not settling like she normally does," said Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens who rode the even-money favorite for trainer Tom Proctor. "I won't make any excuses. The winner ran a huge race."
It was a race that gave Dank her fifth win in 10 starts and first in this country.
"She wasn't at her best in her last few races," Moore said. ""But she was in excellent condition (under trainer Michael Stoute) coming into this race and when she kicked it in, it was all over."
Wigan has come over to other parts of the States, but Saturday was his first visit to Arlington.
"We have a few mares here (in Kentucky)," he said. "But this horse (Dank) was bred in England. So it's even a little more special."
Wigan also said Arlington is a special place.
"I love it," he said. "It's a great facility with a fantastic atmosphere in the paddock. Everything is centralized. Dank's got a great temperament and loved the paddock."
He also loved running on the Arlington turf.