George Krikorian’s seven-time graded stakes winner War Like Goddess will make her 2023 debut when she faces five rivals in Friday’s 61st running of the $300,000 Bewitch (G3) on closing day of the Spring Meet in a bid to win the stakes for the third consecutive year.
The Bewitch is the eighth race with a 4:44 p.m. ET post time on the 10-race program that begins at 1 p.m.
Trained by Bill Mott, War Like Goddess won last year’s Bewitch by 1¾ lengths despite a troubled trip in which she was steadied and bumped. Joel Rosario, who rode her last year, has the mount Friday and will exit post position four.
In 2021, War Like Goddess won the Bewitch by 3¾ lengths with Julien Leparoux aboard.
On Friday, War Like Goddess returns to face her own gender after closing 2022 with a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) here and a victory in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1).
Leading challengers to War Like Goddess in the Bewitch are Town and Country Racing’s Temple City Terror and Joseph Allen’s Personal Best.
Trained by Brendan Walsh, Temple City Terror was a 3-length winner of last fall’s Rood & Riddle Dowager (G3) here going 1½ miles. Fourth in the Hillsborough (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 11 in her 2023 debut, Temple City Terror will be ridden Friday by Jose Ortiz and break from post two.
Personal Best, winner of the La Prevoyante (G3) in January and most recently second in the Orchid (G3) at Gulfstream Park, is trained by Shug McGaughey and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. from post five.
The field for the Bewitch, with riders and weights from the inside, is: Chaton Rouge(Jack Gilligan, 118 pounds), Temple City Terror (Jose Ortiz, 120), Ensemble (IRE)(Tyler Gaffalione, 118), War Like Goddess (Rosario, 123), Personal Best (Irad Ortiz Jr., 120), Sopran Basilea (IRE) (Luis Saez, 118).