War Like Goddess, one of the top turf females in the nation last year, tops a field of seven fillies and mares entered in Friday’s $300,000 Bewitch Stakes on a closing afternoon at Keeneland.
Among the 5-year-old daughter of the English Channel, four graded stakes wins in 2021 was an impressive 3 3/4 -length romp in last season’s edition of the Bewitch. Two races later, she won her first Grade 1 win in Saratoga’s Flower Bowl.
She closed her season in a close loss to the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Del Mar. Friday’s Grade 3, 1 1/2 mile test on the grass will be her first start of 2022.
Chief among her opponents in her second bid will be Brendan Walsh, who is trained by Family Way.
She is the 5-year-old granddaughter of Uncle Mo. Her career began in France. This was her second win at stakes in four of her previous starts.
Although she was winless in 2021, Luck Money hit the board in all six starts, and all of them came in stakes races. A strong second place finish at Keeneland’s Grade 3 Dowager Stakes last fall at the Bewitch distance was one of her strongest races.
Bewitch Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis
War Like Goddess
Take another breathtaking ride with #TVGJockeyCam
This time from viewpoint of BC F&M Turf 3rd-place finisher #7 War Like Goddess & jockey @JulienLeparoux
They get an early jump on the field outside,but #8 Loves Only You (green silks, between horses) catches them late pic.twitter.com/E2ztC3Wtvx
— TVG (@TVG) November 6, 2021
With just a little luck this daughter of the English Channel would have been a champion in 2021. It may have been a bit too late for her big performance in the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf. She was unable to keep up with Loves Only You, the Japanese star. This result cost her the Eclipse Award.
A four-time stakes champion last year including the Bewitch race, this could be just a matter of Bill Mott’s speed for her first race after nearly six months.
She is clearly suited to the course and distance, which gives us every reason for hope that she will return running on Friday. She is the winner of the race as the class, however, I believe there are a few fillies who could make an even bigger race on her return. She is still my top choice.
While War Like Goddess rose quickly in the ranks of American female turf horses last year, her climb this year has been slower. She still won her stakes victory, beating a strong field at Kentucky Downs, in September. And she looks set to continue on the path of success this year.
She’s now well-proven at the distance having run strongly in a pair of graded stakes this year at Gulfstream Park at 11 and then 12-furlongs. She should be able to cause a slight upset if the field sets down for the stretch drive.
The gray mare who was the Grade 3 Orchid winner last year isn’t my favorite, but I think she looks the best threat to the favourite.
Lucky Money This daughter of Lookin At Lucky is slow but she has proved to be an excellent mare that can cover a lot of ground on grass. Although she didn’t win the stakes race last year due to this fact, she was able to cash checks in six of her races.
Unfortunately, her return has been difficult. She has a running style similar to the favourite so I think she will struggle with the strong kick of War Like Goddess.
HTML2_She is a threat to the exotics but, as the third option, her potential value for the Bewitch is not surprising.
Stand tall This one seems to be able to make a great stalking trip behind main speed Breeze Rider. This progressive daughter of Uncle Mo will likely be the leader if the other mare is unable to continue due to class or distance.
This makes her a dangerous mare, however she must still deal with the second and third runners, who will probably be breathing down her neck at that time.
Trained by Rusty Arnold who is known for pulling off upsets on the Keeneland turf. I think she’s my favorite third place. If War Like Goddess, Family Way or any other reason doesn’t race their races, it won’t surprise me at all to see the exacta.
La Lune This English import won some good races in Europe, but she was inconsistent. She was not beating the top horses there. She has been inconsistent in her three American starts since she arrived.
Her first U.S. race was her finest, however she couldn’t beat Family Way at Kentucky Downs that afternoon.
It’s hard to predict what the 6-year-old mare will do since she finished back at Woodbine in Nov. I will not be able to take her on my ticket, as she can prove dangerous at times.
Breeze Ride Depending on the speed of the field she will determine the pace. She’ll see how fast she can go. Paynter’s daughter, she is a solid runner and has run significantly shorter distances on Turfway Park’s synthetic turf.
We do know that she is equally adept at running on the turf, but the 12-furlong distance will be the real question mark; that and the class she will face.
Speed is dangerous even over this distance. However, this field promises to be toughest she’s ever seen so I doubt she will hold off until the end.
Core Values The longest shot was made last year against three other 3-year-olds, and were at a level below the one she will encounter here. She failed to make it past the boards when she attempted harder later in the season.
She also didn’t look well in the one long race she ran last year. Although her 4-year-old return to racing against Keeneland allowance foes of high quality was acceptable, it does not indicate that she is ready to win. I prefer others.
How to Watch the Bewitch Stakes
Bewitch Stakes Race Information What Bewitch Stakes (Grade 3) Location Keeneland Time Friday, April 29 — 4: 07 pm Eastern time How to Watch TVG Purse $300,000