With several strong contenders set to run in Thursday’s $150,000 Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes (gr. 3), the next to the last day of Keeneland’s Spring Meet is shaping up to be an exciting one.
Leading the seven-horse field into the 1 1/2 mile turf race for fillies and mares four-years old and up is Lady Shakespeare (profile), who is out of Theatrical-Lady Shirl, by Thats A Nice. To date, the 4-year-old filly has five wins, two seconds and a third in 10 starts and $315,608 in career earnings.
After winning the Ontario Colleen Stakes at Woodbine on the turf last summer, she opened her 2010 season in a dead heat in the 8 1/2-mile Marshua’s River Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 16.
In her last race, she finished second in the Orchid Stakes (gr. 3), a 12-furlong turf race at Gulfstream on Mar. 28.
Lady Shakespeare will be ridden by John Velazquez and break from post position No. 7. She is the morning line favorite at 5-to-2 odds.
While Lady Shakespeare is the morning line betting favorite, Changing Skies (Ire.) (profile), a 5-year old out of Sadlers Well-Magnificent Style, by Silver Hawk filly is one of the strongest horses in the field. In her career, she’s scored three wins, three seconds and three thirds in 12 starts, with $167,593 in earnings.
She comes into the Bewitch Stakes trying for her second Grade 3 win in a row. In her last start, and first race of the 2010 season, she won The Very One Stakes (gr. 3), an 11-furlong run on Gulfstream Park’s turf course on Feb. 27. In the race, she defeated Nehantic Kat, who she will face in the Bewitch Stakes.
She began her career in Europe under trainer Brian Meehan and placed in a number of stakes races there as a 3-year old, which included a second in the Prix de Psyche (gr. 3) in France, a third in the Cheshire Oaks in England and a third in the Prix Charles Laffitte in France. All three of those races were on turf.
She was then sent to the United States and put under the charge of Hall of Fame trainer, William Mott. In her U.S. debut, she won a 1 1/8th-mile allowance race on the turf at Belmont on Sept. 30, 2009. She followed that up with a second place finish to Striking Dancer in a 1 1/8th-mile allowance race, this one at Keeneland last fall.
Ridden by jockey Kent Desormeaux, who also rode her to The Very One Stakes win, and coming out of post position No. 6, Changing Skies, has morning line odds of 3-to-1. She will also be carrying 122 pounds, the heaviest weight in the race. All others will carry 118 pounds.
Also sporting morning line odds of 3-to-1, Floating Heart (profile) is another horse to watch in this race. A 4-year-old filly out of Giants Casueway-Love Lock, by Silver Ghost, she’s been in the money in eight of her 10 career starts, having one three races, and finishing second in one and third in four others. She has $138,581 in career earnings.
She’s had three good starts on the synthetic track at Santa Anita so far this season. She opened with a third in the Paseana Handicap, a five-furlong run on Jan. 9. She followed that up with another third-place finish, this time in the La Canada Stake (gr. 2), a nine-furlong race on Feb. 14.
Coming into the Bewitch Stakes, she finished third in the Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. 1), a 1 1/8th-mile race on Mar. 13. The winner of that race was Zenyatta.
Floating Heart will break from post position No. 4 and be ridden by Joseph Talamo.
Another potential contender in the Bewitch Stakes is Nehantic Kat (profile), a 7-year-old filly out of Tomorrows Cat-Knightly Thunder, by Thunder Puddles. In her career, she’s had 19 starts, winning six and finishing second three times and third five, and earning $362,981 in the process.
Last year, Nehantic Kat won the Sabellina Stakes on the turf at Belmont Park on June 25, and the Yaddo Handicap on Aug. 23 at Saratoga. She also scored a second in the Mount Vernon Handicap on May 17 at Belmont and a third in the Ticonderoga on Oct. 25 at Belmont. It was the second year in a row she finished second in that race.
So far this year, she’s run in two Grade 3 races, finishing second to Changing Skies in The Very One Stakes (gr. 3) at Gulfstream and taking third in the Orchid Stakes (gr. 3) on March 28, also at Gulfstream.
Nehantic Kat, who currently has morning line odds of 4-to-1, will be ridden by Javier Castellano and break from the No. 1 post position.
Other horse in the Bewitch Stakes include Magical Theater (8-to-1 odds), A She’s Adorable (8-to-1 odds) and Sweet and Flawless (12-to-1 odds).
Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes
Thursday, April 22, 2010
1. Nehantic Kat (Javier Castellano)
2. A She’s Adorable (Brian Hernandez Jr.)
3. Sweet and Flawless (Junior Alvarado)
4. Floating Heart (Joseph Talamo)
5. Magical Theater (Rajiv Maragh)
6. Changing Skies (Ire.) (Kent Desormeaux)
7. Lady Shakespeare (John Velazquez)