Dona Bruja Brings Top Form into Beverly D.
By Alicia Wincze Hughes, courtesy Blood-Horse
She may have two wins in two starts since she arrived in North America, but Ignacio Correas IV says he has yet to see the best of Dona Bruja.
"She just does it on her own," the trainer said. "We never let her use any of her speed in the morning ... because she just gallops so easily."
Correas and the rest of the Thoroughbred racing community stand to get a read on just how good the daughter of Storm Embrujado (ARG) is, as she heads a field of ten entered for the $600,000 Beverly D. Stakes (G1T) at Arlington International Racecourse Aug. 12.
A group 1 winner in her native Argentina, Dona Bruja finished first or second in all of her 10 starts in South America before she came north for her 2017 campaign. The early returns say her talent has more than translated in her new home.
In her first U.S. start, Dona Bruja notch a 1 1/2-length win in the Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap (G3T) at Churchill Downs June 10. Not quite a month later, she ventured to the Chicago area and got well acquainted with the Arlington turf in the Modesty Handicap (G3T) July 8, when she used an effortless late move to best a field that included grade 1 winner Time and Motion.
"She has the tactical speed and a big turn of foot," Correas said. "We just have to hope for a good trip. She was a group I winner in South America. Now we will see if she can do it here."
Owned by Dom Felipe, Dona Bruja has won 10 of her 12 starts and has $340,168 in earnings.
Any high-level test for turf females usually goes through a member or two from the barn of trainer Chad Brown—and the 1 3/16-mile Beverly D. is no different. The Eclipse Award-winning conditioner has a trio set to go to post Saturday, led by grade 1 winner Dacita.
The 6-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy captured the Diana Stakes (G1T) in July of 2016 but has suffered a few tough beats since. She opened her 2017 season with a runner-up finish to fellow Beverly D. entrant Hawksmoor in the Beaugay Stakes (G3T) at Belmont Park May 13 and most recently finished sixth behind Hawksmoor once more in the New York Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G2T) June 9.
Also representing the Brown stable will be Juddmonte Farms' Grand Jete, the winner of the Eatontown Stakes (G3T) at Monmouth Park June 3, and Lael Stables' multiple graded stakes winner Rainha Da Bateria.
Hawksmoor brings some of the best recent form in the Beverly D. and has led at every point of call to earn her back-to-back graded wins. The daughter of Azamour (IRE) will step back into grade 1 company for the first time since she finished third in the 2016 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane's End (G1T) at Keeneland.