Upperline Overcomes Slow Pace to Take Bewitch

Upperline Overcomes Slow Pace to Take Bewitch
Photo: Mathea Kelley
Upperline and James Graham capture the Grey Goose Bewitch at Keeneland.
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Upperline, runner-up in her last two stakes tries, found another gear in the late stages to win the $150,000 Grey Goose Bewitch (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by 1 1/2 lengths at Keeneland April 26.

The crowd of 11,253 fans on hand for Upperline's victory pushed Keeneland's total attendance to a new meet record of 251,909, with one day remaining in the 15-day spring meet. The total surpasses the previous record 250,163 from the 2011 fall meet.

Trained and co-owned by Michael Stidham, Upperline recorded her first graded victory since taking the Arlington Oaks (gr. III) in 2010. The 5-year-old daughter of Maria's Mon is also owned by John Adger, Oakcrest Farm, and Stone Farm. She was bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable and is out of the Caerleon mare Snowflake.

Jockey James Graham guided Upperline to victory, her seventh in 19 career starts. She has earned $497,108.

It was an interesting trip for Upperline in the 1 1/2-mile turf race, as she grabbed the early lead in a very slow first quarter of :26.96. She then allowed Shimmering Moment to go to the front, and Senada to pass her as well. The fractions got even slower, too, as Shimmering Moment ran a half-mile in :54.01, three-quarters in 1:19.79, and a mile in 1:44.66.

Upperline was third when they came off the final turn, and by that time Senada and Javier Castellano had the lead. But despite the slow fractions, Upperline was able to run down Senada in mid-stretch and zip to the wire a comfortable winner.

The final time on the firm course was 2:33.28. Woodford Belle closed well for second under Julien Leparoux, three-quarters of a length in front of Senada. Favored Here to Win was fourth in a field of eight fillies and mares.

Upperline’s most recent win came in the Trillium Stakes on the Woodbine Polytrack last summer. In her only other start this year she was beaten a neck in the March 31 Bayou Handicap at Fair Grounds.

The winner paid $6, $3.60, and $2.80. The exacta (5-4) returned $30.80, and the trifecta (5-4-3) was worth $112.60.

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