Weekend Rewind: 13-month layoff no problem for Lewis Bay

December 17, 2017 11:56am
Weekend Rewind: 13-month layoff no problem for Lewis Bay
Photo: Kenny Martin/Gulfstream Park

Fear the Cowboy earned the headlines after an impressive victory in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes gave his connections incentive to take a shot at the rich Pegasus World Cup. But over the weekend, the horse I found most impressive was the long-lost Lewis Bay.

The 5-year-old daughter of Bernardini had quite the illustrious season in 2016, finishing out of the top three only once in her seven-race campaign that included Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose Stakes. In her final start that campaign, which was the last time she was seen in action before Saturday, Lewis Bay finished second in Aqueduct's Grade 3 Comely Stakes.

Since then, her return was delayed by several “minor injuries,” said trainer
Chad Brown. However, the decision was made to give her time and keep her in training rather than retire the mare. Thirteen months and no more injuries later, it was decided that Lewis Bay would resurface in Saturday's Grade 3 Rampart Stakes.

At this point, nobody would’ve complained had Lewis Bay not won in her return, especially given a matchup with the classy
Curlin’s Approval over that one’s favorite course. A victory appeared even less likely for Lewis Bay when she got caught up in a blistering pace duel with Curlin’s Approval, as they went the second quarter of the race in :22.63.

Despite the obstacles against her, as she turned into the stretch with Curlin’s Approval at her flank, Lewis Bay found more. The final margin was 1 ¼ lengths even giving away a monumental fitness edge. The final time was 1:36.14, which earned her a 95 Beyer Speed Figure.

Given the circumstances, the effort was extremely impressive, and I believe it will only set her up for future success.

There can be no denying that she was a little short in this spot, as evidenced by a :13 flat final quarter. And so it only stands to reason that with more fitness will come vast improvement. Given how strong this performance was, the potential for her 5-year-old season is great.

We forgot about Lewis Bay once. In 2018, I seriously doubt we’ll do so again. 


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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002. At that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college, she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at Virginia Intermont College and then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010, Laura began writing for Horse Racing Nation and has also contributed to Lady and the Track, TwinSpires and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter.

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