Beren looking for more in De Francis Dash
Pennsylvania-bred Beren has made a habit in recent months of running too well to lose – but losing anyway.
Second in the $250,000 Steel Valley Sprint at Mahoning Valley after leading most of the way. Second by a neck in the Page McKenney for state-breds at Parx. Second by a length to 1-2 favorite Ny Traffic in the Chocolate Town at Penn National.
But nobody’s despairing.
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“A couple of those seconds we thought could have been wins along the way,” said trainer Butch Reid in a Maryland Jockey Club release. “But one thing about him is you know he’s going to give a good, honest effort every time you take him over there. That’s all you can ask.”
Beren will try to get back on the winning end of things in Saturday’s $150,000, six-furlong Frank De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.
Beren, a homebred for Susan Quick and Christopher Feifarek, is a five-time stakes winner who has compiled more than $526,000 in career earnings. He has run at six different racetracks in 17 career starts, finishing first or second 12 times with seven wins, but the De Francis will be his first time racing in Maryland.
“He certainly doesn’t need to take his racetrack with him. He runs pretty well over any kind of surface,” Reid said. “At some point we’d like to try him on the turf, too, but not right now.”
Beren, a four-year-old colt by Pennsylvania sire Weigelia, is out of the Maryland-bred Diamond mare Silmaril. Silmaril, named for one of the three sacred jewels whose theft helps drive the plot of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, earned over one million dollars in her career, including a win over champion mare and Hall of Famer Ashado in the 2005 Grade 3 Pimlico Breeders’ Cup Distaff Handicap.
Beren, likewise, continues the Tolkien theme. Beren – the literary character, not the horse — recovered one of the three stolen Silmarils.
Beren has won at distances from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, and after going winless in his first four starts, he’s finished one-two in 10 of 13.
“The best thing about him is he’s got a great head on his shoulders,” Reid said. “He doesn’t overextend himself in training and is just a calm horse. He acts great in the paddock, doesn’t waste a lot of energy and he’s just really consistent.”
Regular rider Frankie Pennington comes in for the assignment from Post 7.
Co-owner Feifarek has an interest in Beren’s success that goes beyond the norm.
Freifarek and his wife have an adult autistic son, and his wife is a co-founder of Itineris, a Baltimore-based organization that provides services to adults on the autism spectrum.
“We donate 10% of purse earnings to the organization,” Feifarek told The Racing Biz in 2021. “When our son was turning 21, we couldn’t find any place that offered services for him, so my wife and some other parents got together to create one.”