Barbara Hunter’s 6-year-old Kentucky homebred mare Keertana defines high
class and consistency with earnings of more than $1 million and a
career record of 28-11-6-7 for trainer Tom Proctor. It’s no wonder she
could go off favored to win Saturday’s $150,000 Orchid Stakes (G3) at
Gulfstream Park at 1 ½ miles on turf.
A daughter of Johar, Keertana will bid to reverse a decision here last
month when she finished second by a length in the $100,000 The Very One
Stakes (G3) going 1 3/8 miles to Trick or Treat International’s
6-year-old Here to Win, an 11-to-1 shot for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin
that was in receipt of four pounds and is expected back for the Orchid.
“She’s been remarkable,” said Proctor of Keertana’s consistency. “The
few times she’s missed the board, a number of them you can attribute to
human error - mine - beginning with her first two races sprinting at
Arlington (Polytrack). In a couple of others she’s finished close-up in
fourth and in one case fifth, but got beat only a half-length for it all
(Locust Grove Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs in 2010).”
Proctor also noted that Keertana could give her longtime owner-breeder a
fourth victory in the Orchid as the late veteran horseman and
Gulfstream regular Stanley Rieser sent out her Pattee Canyon to score in
1970, Dogtooth Violet in 1974 and Sans Arc in 1979.
Keetana won the 2011 edition of The Very One early last year in her
only previous appearance at Gulfstream, but Hunter’s distinctive red and
black colors were in the winners’ circle earlier this meet when
Keertana’s 5-year-old half-sister Snow Top Mountain captured the
Suwannee River Stakes (G3) on Feb. 11. She is a roan/gray daughter of
Najran and the siblings are out of fourth generation Hunter broodmare
Motokiks, by Storm Cat.
Keertana attracted the most national attention in the fall of 2010 when
she ran one of the best races of her life to finish third in the
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs, beaten only
a half-length for it all by Shared Account with defending champion
Midday between them in a wild finish.