Augustin Stables' homebred Kitten's Point closed impressively to win the $150,000 Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) April 24 at Keeneland, after racing as much as 10 1/2 lengths off the early pace in the 1 1/2-mile race (VIDEO).
Off at 5-1 odds, the 5-year-old mare trained by Graham Motion, improved gradually in the later stages of the race then surged in the stretch to defeat 11-1 Cay Dancer by a half-length. Longshot (40-1) Maria Maria closed to finish third, 1 1/2 lengths back. The win was Motion's third straight in the Bewitch.
The victory marked the second graded turf score for the daughter of Kitten's Joy and both were under jockey Edgar Prado. The last was the 2013 Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park. Friday's win was also her second stakes win at 1 1/2 miles this year, after a victory in the Astra Stakes at Santa Anita Park in January.
Kitten's Point sat in seventh in the 14-horse field when early leader Lots o' Lex opened up a four-length advantage, running opening fractions of :25.14 and :50.53 through a half-mile. After six furlongs in 1:16.36 and a mile in 1:42.41, the mare improved to fifth place before her final charge. She covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:30.28 on a turf course rated firm.
"She broke running out of the gate and put me in a good spot in the race," Prado said. "When I asked her, she was there for me. We were pretty much in the clear most of the way.
"I rode her before, going a mile, a mile and a sixteenth, mile and an eighth. I think she's a very nice filly and she can adjust to any distance."
The winner paid $13.60, $7.40, and $5.20 across the board. Cay Dancer returned $11.80 and $7.80. Maria Maria delivered $17.40 to show. The $2 exacta paid $168.80 and the $2 trifecta brought $4,979.60
Bred in Pennsylvania by George Strawbridge Jr. from the Kingmambo mare Rendezvous Point, Kitten's Point has a 5-3-2 record from 15 starts and has career earnings of $434,565 with the $90,000 winner's share.
Courtesan was fourth, followed by Lots o' Lex, White Rose, Antonia Autumn, Tabreed, Street of Gold, Hellenistic, Caroline Thomas, Anipa, Tapnfire, and Annabird, to complete the order of finish. Honey Lake and Tuttipaesi were also-eligible scratches.