TAMPA, FL – Dom Felipe’s Dona Bruja fired fresh off of her four-month vacation, breezing away to an easy victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Speeding away sharply from post 2 under Jose Ortiz, Dona Bruja immediately took a commanding lead while posting fractions of :23.92, :48.02, and 1:11.05. Still confidently handled even as Viva Vegas began applying pressure, Dona Bruja hit the top of the stretch with confidence. The Ignacio Correas IV trainee quickly kicked away to a 4-length victory in a final time of 1:40.92 for the 1 1/16-mile turf test.
“(Going to the lead) wasn’t really the plan,” Ortiz said. “Ignacio told me to keep her relaxed and don’t change her style and let La Coronel go, and hopefully somebody would go after her. But she broke really good. I was a bit nervous going into the first turn on the lead, but she was pulling me, I guess because she was so fresh. I think she is going to move forward off this.”
La Coronel, the even-money favorite, was no match for the winner but bested the rest, taking second over Truly Together. Fourth went to Lovely Loyree, with America Mon Amie, Viva Vegas, and Josdesanimaux completing the order of finish.
Dona Bruja’s win was her 11th in 15 career starts that include a stellar career in her native Argentina before coming stateside in 2017. The 6-year-old daughter of Storm Embrujado increased her lifetime earnings to $536,568.
“I think that (going to the lead from the start) was Bruja’s plan, not our plan,” Correas said. “I guess she does what she wants. She has so much talent. She’s had a couple of unlucky trips, but hopefully, this will be her year. I couldn’t believe we were on the lead, but she broke sharp and she was fresh because she hasn’t raced in four months. I guess that’s why she went to the lead. She’s amazing, and I’m the luckiest guy to have her in my barn.”
Dona Bruja returned $4.80 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. La Coronel brought back $2.40 to place and $2.20 to show, while Truly Together paid $2.80 to show.