08/21/2010 6:39PM

Eclair de Lune gives Duchossois Beverly D. win

Email
Four Footed Fotos
Richard Duchossois, owner of Eclair de Lune (right), and jockey Junior Alvarado following the Beverly D.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – The applause began, politely, near his box, then quickly spread throughout the entire section towering above the Arlington Park finish line Saturday. By the time 88-year-old Richard Duchossois disappeared on his way to the winner’s circle, there was whistling, raucous cheering, and maybe even a tear or two in heartfelt recognition of what had just transpired on the Arlington turf.

Duchossois, the longtime chairman at Arlington, had just won the Grade 1 race named for his late wife when Eclair de Lune stormed to victory in the 21st running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Beverly D.

“This really inspires me,” said Ron McAnally, the 78-year-old Hall of Famer who began training Éclair de Lune last fall after buying her for Duchossois at auction in France. “Dick has been good to all the people here for a long time and always puts on a first-class show. Time is running out for both of us, Dick and I, so this is the icing on the cake. He really deserves this, Dick does.”

“I’d rather win this race than the Kentucky Derby,” a choked-up Duchossois said in a post-race interview.

With Junior Alvarado riding, Eclair de Lune got an absolutely perfect trip in posting her first victory in four North American tries in the Beverly D., a 1 3/16-mile race that is frequently pivotal in the filly-mare turf division. A relaxed second behind pacesetting Romacaca from the start, she kept inching closer to the lead until the eighth pole, where she took command before surging away to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths over Hot Cha Cha, who also got a great trip under Jimmy Graham when stalking from third most of the way.

Eclair de Lune returned $14.80 as fourth choice after finishing in 1:56.56 over a turf rated good.

Gypsy’s Warning rallied late to be third, a neck behind Hot Cha Cha. She was followed in order by Romacaca, Treat Gently, Pachattack, Acoma, Ave, and Biased. Rainbow View, the morning line favorite, was scratched with an injury Thursday.

Pachattack, a 7-1 shot, lost her race when missing the break, while Ave, the lukewarm 3-1 favorite, had a spot of traffic trouble on the first turn and never made an impact thereafter.

Eclair de Lune, a German-bred 4-year-old filly, had gone 2 for 6 in France before being bought for $365,000 at the Arqana Arc Sale in October. She ran fourth in back-to-back turf races at Santa Anita at spring, then was a sharp second to the ill-fated Tuscan Evening in her prep for the Beverly D., the July 17 Modesty at Arlington.

“Ron and his staff bought her, trained her, did just a magnificent job with the filly,” said Duchossois.

The graded win was the first since 2008 for the Southern California-based McAnally, whose career highlights include three wins in the Arlington Million, most notably the 1981 inaugural with the legendary John Henry.

Beverly Duchossois died of cancer in 1980. Richard Duchossois, who bought Arlington in partnership in 1983 and has been its top executive ever since, said Eclaire de Lune was his first starter in the Beverly D. and that he had been looking for years to have a filly good enough to win it. He has since remarried.

“I’m grateful to everyone who made this happen,” he said, clearly touched.

Memorial Maniac wins Stars and Stripes

Earlier Saturday, Memorial Maniac ($18.80), with Graham aboard, wore down 18-1 shot Lemonade Kid in a prolonged drive to capture the Grade 3, $100,000 Stars and Stripes by a neck. Larry Demeritte trains the winner, a 5-year-old gelding, at Keeneland for the Butterfly Stable.

“I knew he was capable,” said Graham. “He was happy. He went out there and did his job.”

Memorial Maniac came from well back to set a course record of 2:44.29 at the rarely run distance of 1 5/8 miles on turf. Free Fighter, who gave closest chase to early leader Rumor Has It, faded late to be third, 3 1/2 lengths behind Lemonade Kid and another length before Perfect Shower, the 11-10 favorite in a field of nine.

Following the three International Festival of Racing events, Silent Candy ($7) slipped through along the rail in deep stretch to capture the $62,300 Hatoof Stakes as the lukewarm favorite in a field of nine 3-year-old turf fillies. Michael Baze was aboard for trainer Andy Hansen when finishing a mile in 1:38.54. Besitos was second and Lunar Mist was third.