G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s homebred Communique worked rail-skimming magic in deep stretch of the $150,000 Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO
) and swung out just in time to keep Helen Groves’ Tejida from a wire-to-wire win in the April 24 event at Keeneland Race Course.
Tejida took the lead at the start of the 1 1/2-mile event and ran through modest fractions of :25.25, :49.84, and 1:14.75. Rising Cross and Jive raced together for the second and third spots behind the front-runner, while Monte Crystal was fourth.
Meanwhile, under Garrett Gomez, Communique had been taken back to eighth. Racing behind a mile pace of 1:39.56 set by Tejida, she remained far behind the front-runners and was seventh by a head after 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.56.
“I just tried to save some ground and be patient with her like I did the other day going a mile and an eighth,” said Gomez. “When I started my way through the field and when we turned for home, I had one left to get by. When I showed her some daylight, she did what she’s supposed to do and she did it nicely for us.”
When the field turned for home, Tejida opened up a three-length lead going into the stretch. Communique, however, unleashed a powerful turn of foot up the inside and angled out to catch the leader by a half-length in the last strides. The final time was 2:28.91.
Sent off at odds of 9-2, Communique returned $10.80, $5.00, and $3.60. Tejida brought $5.20 and $3.60 under Javier Castellano, while Rising Cross got up for third to pay $3.60 under Kent Desormeaux.
Coming off an April 4 allowance win in her first start over Polytrack at the Lexington oval, the George “Rusty” Arnold trainee returned to the turf for her 13th career start and notched her third win, a first graded score for the Smart Strike filly who was bred in Kentucky by Humphrey out of the Pleasant Colony mare Martinique. She now has a record of 3-3-2 from 13 starts, with earnings of $265,164.