LEXINGTON, KY (April 25, 2013) – Despite his dominating performance during the Keeneland spring meet, jockey Joel Rosario was overlooked by handicappers and rode 18-1 longshot Strathnaver (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 turn.
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 Angegreen (ITY).
Kissable (IRE) ran fourth and was followed in order by Alaura Michele, Angegreen, Scampering, And Why Not, Gathering, Dynarama and Revelstoke.
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 three.
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.
Friday is closing day of Keeneland’s 16-day spring meet. The 10-race program features the 28th running of the $150,000 Elkhorn Stakes (G2) for four-year-olds and older horses going 1 1/2 miles on the turf course. First post time is 1:05 p.m. (ET) with the Elkhorn going as the ninth race at 5:13 p.m.