08/08/2008 11:00PM

Precious Kitten can get purr-fect setup

Email

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - On paper, at least, the Beverly D. shapes up in a predictable manner. Dreaming of Anna will scoot to the lead from the rail post, with Rosinka and Precious Kitten tracking closest.

What happens thereafter is anyone's guess, although many horseplayers will be betting that Rafael Bejarano can maneuver Precious Kitten into a garden spot. Indeed, if the race unfolds as trainer Bobby Frankel hopes, Precious Kitten will Win and You're In her way to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf in October.

"That's what we're trying to do, win this race and get to the Breeders' Cup," said Frankel, who will travel to Arlington Park from Saratoga early Saturday for the $750,000 Beverly D., the second of three Grade 1 races in the annual International Festival of Racing.

Precious Kitten, purchased in January by Lael Stables, has been trained throughout her 21-race career by Frankel. The 5-year-old mare, bred and previously owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, is the morning-line favorite in a field of nine fillies and mares in the 1 3/16-mile Beverly D. In her last start, which came on May 26, Precious Kitten captured the Grade 1 Gamely at Hollywood Park after getting a perfect stalking trip under Bejarano.

"I think she's a really good filly," said Frankel, who has won two runnings of the Beverly D. - with Possibly Perfect in 1995 and Heat Haze in 2003. "She tries really hard every time we send her out there."

The Beverly D., perennially a critical race in the filly-mare turf division, is officially tied to the Oct. 24 BC Filly and Mare Turf as part of the second annual Breeders' Cup Challenge series. Frankel said Precious Kitten will have one more unspecified race between the Beverly D. and the Breeders' Cup, assuming all goes well.

"She came out of the Gamely with a quarter crack, but I think I've got her right again," said Frankel. "I brought her straight back to New York, and she's trained well," having recorded five workouts since early July.

Like Frankel, trainer Christophe Clement also has two wins in the Beverly D. - and a major contender in this renewal. Clement, who won in 2001 with England's Legend and last year with Royal Highness, will send out the likely second choice Saturday in Mauralakana, who has shipped in from New York in the best form of her life. The 5-year-old French-bred mare has won 4 of her last 5 starts, most recently taking the Grade 2 New York Stakes at Belmont Park. Kent Desormeaux has the mount again.

Other serious considerations in this 19th running of the Beverly D. include the likely front-runners, Dreaming of Anna and Rosinka, as well as a pair of European shippers, Toque de Queda and Cicerole.

Dreaming of Anna, with Garrett Gomez to ride, carries perhaps the strongest hope ever for a locally based filly in the Beverly D. Bred and owned by Frank Calabrese and stabled at Arlington with Wayne Catalano, the 4-year-old filly has earned nearly $2 million in her 15-race career.

"There aren't a lot of top, top horses here in Chicago," said Catalano, "but it's a solid circuit, and this is a good opportunity for us to show it."

Rosinka, with Cornelio Velasquez to ride, should run better than in her last race, a loss at 1-5 odds at Delaware Park, according to trainer Graham Motion. "I think she was a little too fresh, too sharp," said Motion. "I'm not holding that last race against her."

The balance of the Beverly D. field is Communique, Meribel, and Ciao. Of those, Communique would seem to rate the best longshot chance, especially if she can do even better than her sharp recent win in the Grade 3 Modesty at Arlington.

The Beverly D., the ninth of 12 races on the card, is the middle leg in an all-Grade 1 pick three that carries a guaranteed pool of $250,000. The race will be shown live on the ESPN telecast, with post time set for 3:50 p.m. Central.

The Beverly D. is named for the late wife of Arlington chairman Richard L. Duchossois.