LEXINGTON, KY (April 29, 2016) – Olorda (GER) and jockey Julien Leparoux led their nine rivals from start to finish through 1½ miles on the Keeneland turf course to win the 55th running of the $150,000 Bewitch (G3) before 18,030 fans on closing day of the track’s 2016 Spring Meet.
Chad Brown trains Olorda, a 4-year-old daughter of Lord of England who races for Martin S. Schwartz. In 2005, Schwartz raced Angara (GB) to record his first victory in the Bewitch.
The Bewitch marked the second win of the day for Brown.
Olorda, the 3-1 second choice, took the lead out of the gate from the sixth post and set the pace in :24.86, :49.27, 1:14.64 and a mile in 1:39.97 with 21-1 longshot Annulment in closest pursuit while the other runners were as many as seven lengths behind them.
Racing around the final turn, Songoficeandfire and Al’s Gal began to move on the leader with Al’s Gal rallying in the stretch while racing three wide. Olorda was able to hold off Al’s Gal by a half-length. Her time for the race on firm turf was 2:30.09.
Favored Songoficeandfire was third and was followed in order by Annulment, Achnaha (IRE), Street of Gold, Generosidade (URU), Button Down (GB), Personal Diary and Return to Grace.
The victory was worth $90,000 to Olorda, who improved her record to four wins in 10 starts and earnings of $290,447. She began her 2016 campaign with a win in The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream Park on March 5 and is unbeaten in two races this year.
Last fall at Keeneland, Olorda was fourth in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End (G1).
In winning the Bewitch, Olorda paid $8.60, $4.60 and $3.20. Al’s Gal, with Javier Castellano aboard, returned $7.40 and $4.20. Songoficeandfire, who was ridden by Jose Lezcano, paid $3.40 to show.
Racing returns to Keeneland on Oct. 7 with the start of the Fall Meet. The 17-day season runs through Oct. 29.
Quotes from the $150,000 Bewitch (G3)
Chad Brown (winning trainer of Olorda [GER])
“I think they both earned (the victory), horse and jockey (Julien Leparoux). They were honest fractions, but knowing this filly, she can be difficult. A big part of her success is getting Julien on her. Putting her in the front in her races and having him ride her … they’re a great combination. He rode a perfect race and timed it just right today.”
On whether she needs to be on the lead
“That’s what we’re learning. She runs best that way. We did that in her last race (in which she won The Very One Stakes-G3 on March 5 at Gulfstream Park in her 2016 debut), and it worked out. Asking a mile and a half of her was a lot today, but Julien carved out decent fractions, knowing how headstrong this particular horse can be. He just executed it perfectly, and the filly ran a huge race.”
Julien Leparoux (winning rider)
“This filly is a little strong. We knew we were going to be on the lead. (I wanted to) just try to get her to relax. She actually did pretty good today. She just ran to the end.”
Javier Castellano (rider of runner-up Al’s Gal)
“Turning for home I thought I got (the win), but (Olorda) never stopped. I give credit to my horse the way she closed into a slow pace and finished really, really well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t catch the winner. (Olorda) opened up quick and didn’t come back to me at all.”
Jose Lezcano (rider of third-place finisher Songoficeandfire)
“I got a very good trip. She broke very good. When I asked for the kick, the other filly (Olorda) just kept going. She still gave me a good race though.”
Gary Stevens (rider of fourth-place finisher Annulment)
“It was a great trip. I followed the winner all the way around there. My filly was relaxed; Julien (Leparoux on Olorda) had his filly relaxed, so I was very content. She gave me a little thrill at the head of the lane. She quickened pretty good for me and she hung around to be be fourth. She’s never run this far. It was a big effort coming off a long layoff; she hadn’t run since (Nov. 21) last year. I was proud of her.”