Despite his dominating performance during the Keeneland spring meet,
jockey Joel Rosario
was overlooked by handicappers and rode 18-1
(GB) to win the 52nd
running of the
$150,000 Bewitch Stakes (G3) before 11,921 fans on Thursday. The victory
was one of Rosario’s five wins on the day on which he broke the spring
meet record of 32 victories set by Randy Romero in 1990.
Unhurried early in the 1½-mile race, Strathnaver and Rosario raced in
eighth position behind 2-1 favorite Gathering, who took the lead out of
the starting gate and set early fractions of :24.49, :48.87 and
1:13.18. Scampering, who had been racing about a half-length off the
leader in second place, took the lead from Gathering rounding the final
Entering the stretch, second choice Regalo Mia moved along the rail
while Strathnaver mounted her bid from the outside. Strathnaver took the
lead with a furlong remaining and edged clear to finish a length in
front of Regalo Mia in 2:30.65.
H. Graham Motion trains Strathnaver, a four-year-old daughter of
Oasis Dream (GB), for owner Andrew Stone. Motion and Stone also ran
third in the race with Qushchi (GB), who finished three-quarters of a
length behind Regalo Mia. Motion also trains sixth-place finisher
Kissable (IRE) ran fourth and was followed in order by Alaura
Michele, Angegreen, Scampering, And Why Not, Gathering, Dynarama and
The Bewitch marked the second North American start and victory for
Strathnaver, who set the 1 3/16-mile turf course record when she won an
allowance race on March 16 at Gulfstream Park. The filly began her
career in England, where she won two races in nine starts at two and
Strathnaver earned $90,000 for the victory to increase her career earnings to $133,336 with four wins in 11 starts.
The winner paid $38, $14.80 and $8.80. Regalo Mia, ridden by Luis
Contreras, returned $4 and $3.20. Edgar Prado rode Qushchi, who paid
$9.20 to show.
While Rosario had a banner day, trainer Mike Maker won three races
and increased his spring meet total to 22 wins. That mark equals D.
Wayne Lukas for the all-time record wins by a trainer during a Keeneland
meet. Maker’s victories were with horses owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey,
who also have 22 wins this meet, and ridden by Rosario.