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.
Watch and wager on Keeneland at PlayUp Raebook. New players can earn up to a $250 bonus!
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).
Next Start Being Determined For Ben Ali Winner Rattle N Roll
Lucky Seven Stable’s Rattle N Roll has returned to trainer Kenny McPeek’s Churchill Downs following his victory in the $300,000 Ben Ali (G3).
McPeek said via text that the $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3) going 1 3/16 miles at Pimlico on May 19 or the $225,000 Blame (G3) at Churchill Downs on June 3 going 1 1/8 miles are under consideration.
The Ben Ali marked the second Keeneland stakes victory for Rattle N Roll, who took the 2021 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
Giddyup Stables and Tom Lambro’s Call Me Fast earned his first stakes placing when he rallied for second in the Ben Ali.
“We are pretty excited about him,” trainer Mike Puhich said of the 4-year-old Dialed In gelding, who rebounded from a troubled trip in the Essex (G3) in his previous start.
On the horizon for Call Me Fast are the Pimlico Special or the Blame.
“Right now we are considering both races, but we will see how he is doing,” Puhich said. “I would probably be leaning more toward the Blame. But we will see how things shape up. Most importantly is the horse.”
Trainer Neil Pessin said Lothenbach Stables’ Happy American, who rallied from last to get fourth in the Ben Ali, likely would point to the Blame.