Heavy favorite Lilac Queen remained undefeated in three North American starts and gave trainer Bobby Frankel yet another stakes win with a sharp victory in the $112,100 Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland Thursday.
Sent off at 3-to-5, Lilac Queen and jockey Jerry Bailey sat off the pace through for the opening mile reached in 1:41 by frontrunner Hi Tech Honeycomb. Lilac Queen ranged into position around the final turn, swung to the outside into the lane, and quickly kicked clear of the field for the easy victory. Owned by Gary Tanaka, Lilac Queen completed the 1 1/2 mile trip on a firm course in 2:29 3/5.
"With this kind, just park 'em four wide, keep them out of trouble and drop their heads when you want them to go," said Bailey, who won his fourth stakes race of the meeting.
Beyond the Waves finished second, a head in front of San Dare. It was another head back to Dancing in the field of 10 older fillies and mares.
In her North American bow on Jan. 3 at Santa Anita Lilac Queen won a 1 1/4-mile optional claiming race, which was her first start since June of 2001. She followed that performance with an easy 5 3/4-length victory in a third-level allowance at Keeneland April 6 in her final prep for the Bewitch.
Previously, the 5-year-old daughter of Law Society made three starts in Germany, all as a 3-year-old. She won two stakes that year and finished second in the German Oaks (Ger-I).
The winner paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.20. Beyond the Waves, ridden by Pat Day, returned $10 and $4.20 and San Dare with Mark Guidry aboard paid $2.60.
Day won one race, a day after escaping serious injury when he fell from Nut Lovin in Thursday's third race. He has a total of 15 victories during the meeting, one less than Robby Albarado.