Beverly D scouting report: Pretty Girl
For starters, the Argentinean-bred has a pedigree made for U.S. success. By the late Harlan’s Holiday, she’s out of a mare by Candy Stripes – the sire of turf champ Leroidesanimaux (who sired Kentucky Derby [G1]/Dubai World Cup [G1] star Animal Kingdom) as well as the broodmare sire of record-setting Pacific Classic (G1) winner and successful sire Candy Ride.
Pretty Girl rocketed to prominence in a mere three starts at San Isidro in her homeland. A rallying debut winner in the fall of her juvenile campaign, she returned seven months later to roll in the Premio Federico de Alvear (G3).
Then-trainer Alfredo Gaitan Dassie pitched Pretty Girl straight into the 2014 Gran Premio Copa de Plata (G1). Not only was that her first try at the top level, but it also came versus older mares during the summer of her sophomore season. Pretty Girl passed her test with flying colors. Closing through a tight spot on the inside, she showed admirable poise and burst clear to a 3 1/2-length victory. As you can see from the fractions posted at the end, Pretty Girl delivered a blistering final quarter to complete 2000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) in 1:59.28:
The Copa de Plata is the sister race to the coveted Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini (G1) (the “South American Arc”). Last December’s renewal went to unbeaten Sobradora Inc, who just made a winning U.S. debut in Sunday’s Osunitas at Del Mar, defeating graded veterans Prize Exhibit and Elektrum.
Pretty Girl’s 2014 Copa de Plata offers some fascinating collateral form on the international level.
Pacesetter Top Juliette, who faded to fifth, was subsequently runner-up to Furia Cruzada in a Group 1 in April 2015. That’s a potentially significant piece of form, since Chilean champion Furia Cruzada is holding her own in England now for John Gosden. Third versus males in the February 27 Winter Derby (G3) in her British premiere, Furia Cruzada has finished second in a pair of English Group 2s this summer, the Duke of Cambridge (G2) at Royal Ascot and the July 2 Lancashire Oaks (G2).
Argentinean champion Kalithea, who was sixth to Pretty Girl as the 2014 Copa de Plata favorite, has likewise placed to Furia Cruzada at the Group 1 level. And Kalithea was fourth to the aforementioned Sobradora Inc. in the 2015 Copa de Plata.
Finally, Peruvian champion Ryans Charm, ninth to Pretty Girl, recently won the June 26 Gran Premio Pamplona (G1) at Monterrico. That’s a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Unbeaten at home, Pretty Girl merited a chance on the European stage. She embarked for France, where she joined trainer Mikel Delzangles. As a measure of her regard, she was engaged in last August’s Prix Gontaut-Biron (G3) (versus males) and Prix Jean Romanet (G1) in her own division.
But early on in her international venture, Pretty Girl fractured a knee (as reported in turfdiario.com), and she missed her entire 2015 campaign.
Sidelined until May 6 of this year, Pretty Girl made her French debut off a nearly 17-month layoff. She turned in a pleasing comeback when third, doing her best work late, in the Prix Maurice Zilber over a metric mile.
The victorious favorite, Aga Khan blueblood Sayana, advanced to the June 4 Princess Elizabeth (G3) at Epsom. Although she settled for second there, not appearing to handle the course, Sayana was the red-hot favorite at odds of 1-2. In another postscript to the Zilber form, runner-up Sea Front came back to finish third versus males in the Prix Bertrand du Breuil (G3).
Pretty Girl next took on males herself in the June 22 La Coupe (G3), but she never gained traction on the soft going and trudged home a well-beaten sixth behind the useful Air Pilot. Runner-up Elliptique promptly won the Grosser Dallmayr Preis (G1) in his July 31 follow-up. The La Coupe third-placer, Night Wish, also scored in his ensuing start in the July 27 Grand Prix de Vichy (G3).
Vichy was also the venue for Pretty Girl’s rebound in the July 26 Prix Jacques de Bremond. Delzangles and her regular rider, Vincent Cheminaud, both told paris-turf.com afterward that the mile is shorter than ideal for her. But the lively pace helped, and watch her electric late surge on the outside to mow them all down:
The Jacques de Bremond was only a listed race at Vichy, and although she beat males, they’re an indifferent assortment of handicap/listed and a couple of borderline Group 3 types. Indeed, the lukewarm favorite, Caointiorn, was coming off a third in the Prix de la Porte Maillot (G3). (Interestingly, Porte Maillot winner Jimmy Two Times was third in last Sunday’s Prix Maurice de Gheest [G1].)
Yet Pretty Girl did something that classy performers do – win a stakes over males, and over an inadequate trip to boot – and she has plenty of upside with just six starts under her belt. Her connections think a lot of her to give her an early entry in the Arc.
Pretty Girl had a couple of other options versus males this weekend. She was nominated to Sunday’s Prix Jacques le Marois (G1), but that would have been a stern task against elite milers. Or she could have stretched out to about 10 furlongs again for Monday’s Gontaut-Biron, but that’s the expected launching pad for New Bay.
The Beverly D. is a more attractive spot, as a 1 3/16-mile affair against fellow distaffers, not to mention the bonus of being a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. And Pretty Girl is already Breeders’ Cup eligible.
Delzangles has trained a Breeders’ Cup winner in Flotilla, heroine of the 2012 Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). Even further afield, he sent out Dunaden to win the 2011 Melbourne Cup (G1) and Hong Kong Vase (G1) as well as the 2012 Caulfield Cup (G1).
In the hands of an international horseman like Delzangles, Pretty Girl could go pretty far.
Photo courtesy Arlington stakes coordinator Michael Adolphson via Twitter