English invader Dank exploded from just off the pace to win in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Beverly D.at Arlington, leaving even-money favorite Marketing Mix well back in a one-paced fourth. Owned by James Wigan and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Dank blitzed 1 3/16 firm-turf miles in a virtually course record-equaling 1:53.38. The official mark of 1:53 1/5 was first set by Reluctant Guest in the 1990 Beverly D., before the era of timing in hundredths.
Dank's first Grade 1 coup earned her an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf as part of the "Win and You're In" program. Moreover, she was giving jockey Ryan Moore and sire Dansili a double at the International Festival of Racing, two races after Dandino's dramatic victory in the American St. Leger.
Most recently successful in the July 21 Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh, Dank was sent off as the 3-1 second choice. She was reserved just about in midpack as habitual front runner La Tia carved out fractions of :23 3/5, :48 and 1:11 3/5. Solid Appeal prompted in second, and Marketing Mix stalked in third. Irish shipper Duntle and Starformer were settled in the vicinity of Dank on the backstretch.
Turning for home, Solid Appeal went after La Tia, but Marketing Mix was surprisingly unable to pick up. Dank, on the other hand, was just kicking into gear. The winner surged past that trio, bounded clear, and turned the Beverly D. into a rout.
Gifted Girl by Azamour - Hoodwink, by Selfirk 4YO bay filly
2 YO winner (7f) and 4th Listed (1m)
3 YO Lingfield Fillies' Handicap (1m)
4YO 2nd Group 1 Beverly D Stakes USA
Listed winner (1m) winner Ascot Bovis Homes Fillies' H. (1m) 2nd Epsom Princess Elizabeth S., Gr.3 (8 1/2 f)
Gifted Girl (Azamour) rallied belatedly for second by 1 1/2 lengths to complete the English exacta.
"We had a lovely run around," jockey Tom Queally said. "She was slowly away, but she ran a super race. There's still more to come for her."
Bred by London Thoroughbred Services, Dank is a half-sister to two Group 1-winning highweights in Eagle Mountain and Sulk. Eagle Mountain scored his signature win in the 2008 Hong Kong Cup and also finished runner-up in that season's Breeders' Cup Turf. Sulk ranked as France's highweight juvenile filly of 2001 by virtue of capturing the Prix Marcel Boussac, and she was England's highweight staying filly courtesy of a second in the 2002 Prix Royal Oak. Sulk went on to produce Dubai stakes winner and Group 2-placed Ibn Battuta.
Dank is also a half-sister to multiple Group 3-placed stakes victor Wallace and to the dams of Group 2-placed stakes winner Pimpernel and current two-year-old Bye Bye Birdie, queen of the Curragh's Balanchine on June 30.
Dank's prolific dam is Masskana (Masskana was bred and sold by the Aga Khan Studs), a winning daughter of Darshaan and multiple French Group 1 star Masarika. Masskana is herself a half-sister to Group 2 scorer Massyar and Grade 3 victor Madjaristan.