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Bewitch Preview: Dozen Runners Offer Price Potential on Keeneland’s Closing Day
Credit: Keeneland Photo

Bewitch Preview: Dozen Runners Offer Price Potential on Keeneland’s Closing Day

LEXINGTON, KY – A dozen older fillies and mares are entered to run 3 turns in Friday’s $150,000 Bewitch Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in a race that offers bettors plenty of price potential on paper.

The Bewitch is a 1 1/2-mile turf route restricted to fillies and mares ages 4 and up. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on the meet’s Closing Day 10-race card and has a local post time of 5:30 PM.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Bewitch:

1. Cambeliza 20/1 – She returns from a 3-month layoff to a course over which she’s run well in the past; she finished third going 1 3/16 miles in October 2019 and second by a neck at this distance last October; both were allowances. She then fell off form, losing 3 stakes tries by several lengths at similar distances, but trainer Arnaud Delacour hits at 18% with runners returning from similar breaks.

2. Delta’s Kingdom 4/1 – She makes her second start following a 2-month break and should give a better effort than the even fourth she finished in last month’s 1 3/8-mile Orchid Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. She hit the board in 5 straight races prior to her most recent break, including finishing third behind Cambeliza last October, but her last victory came 10 starts back in a September 2019 allowance.

3. Three Flamingos 12/1 – The daughter of turf distance specialist English Channel steps up to a stakes for the first time after beating Fair Grounds allowance rivals going 1 1/8 miles. That was her first start in 5 months and as a 4-year-old, so she has every room to improve here and will need to increase her career-best Beyer Speed Figure (78) by leaps and bounds to contend with the top choices.

4. Dominga 5/1 – Her second start of the year comes after she missed winning the 1 1/16-mile Tom Benson Memorial Stakes by a neck in what was her first race off a 7-month break. Trainer Brad Cox connects at 26% with runners making second starts after similar breaks and the barn’s top rider Florent Geroux (who’s winning 30% with Cox at the meet) will be aboard for the second straight time.

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5. Pass the Plate 15/1 – She stretches out to try a three-turn event for the first time after finishing fifth in the Benson Memorial, where she was stuck wide into the first turn and pushed back to the rear. With this post draw and the quick run into the first turn, expect her to be a bit more forwardly-placed under Rafael Bejarano, who’s won 3 of his past 13 mounts for trainer Paul McGee.

6. Kalifornia Queen 4/1 – The German-bred 4-year-old makes her second start of the year and since joining the stateside stable of Chad Brown, who saddled her to a sixth-place finish in February’s 1 3/16-mile The Very One Stakes (G3). She was a Group 2 winner going 1 1/4 miles on her native turf and Brown’s stable has caught fire recently, with a 22-5-6-3 record at the meet (through Tuesday).

7. Dalika 5/1 – Will her recent on-off, on-off form continue here? It would mean another stakes title if so; she won the One Dreamer 6 starts back, the Blushing 4 back, and the Al Stall Memorial 2 back, with multiple-length losses in between. Jockey Miguel Mena, aboard in 5 of her past 6 including all 3 wins, rides once again and will likely put her on or very close to the lead in the early going.

8. War Like Goddess 7/2 – The morning line favorite was a game winner of the Orchid last time out, running down multiple graded stakes champion Always Shopping in her second start off the bench and as a 4-year-old. Her running style is to take back and make one long, sustained run, so this outer-half post draw shouldn’t hinder her chances. Julien Leparoux rides for the third straight start.

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9. Gun Society 20/1 – She makes her first start since finishing eighth in last December’s 1 3/16-mile Via Borghese Stakes, which capped a 2020 campaign that saw her go winless in 8 starts and hit the board in 3 of those. She won 2 straight to end her juvenile year in 2019, but she’ll need a sharp reversal of form in just her second race away from Woodbine. Trainer Roger Attfield also bred and owns her.

10. Margaret’s Joy 20/1 – She rallied from off the pace to finish third by a neck in a 1 1/2-mile Gulfstream Park optional claiming event last time out. She was third in the Endeavour Stakes (G3) in her debut at this level 2 starts back and will likely sit off the early pace before coming with a run under Joe Talamo, aboard her 3 times in the past including for her only win, a 1-mile Churchill Downs route.

11. English Affair 20/1 – She’s back for more at age 7 despite not showing much of her old self in her past 3 starts, including most recently finishing ninth in January’s 1 1/2-mile La Prevoyante Stakes (G3). She was moved up to second via disqualification in her lone local appearance (the 2018 Dowager Stakes [G3] at this distance) and trainer Rusty Arnold wins 21% with runners after similar breaks.

12. Court Return 20/1 – With racing at her home track Woodbine still delayed, she’s forced to give American stakes action another try after finishing no better than sixth in the Via Borghese, the La Prevoyante, and the Hillsborough Stakes (G3). Her lack of success this side of the border combined with this far outside draw makes her tough to play, but Hall of Famer John Velazquez riding is intriguing.

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