Bryan's Jewel holds off And Why Not to win the Obeah Stakes.

Bryan's Jewel holds off And Why Not to win the Obeah Stakes.

Bryan's Jewel Makes the Grade in Obeah Stakes

Rockport Harbor mare improves resume June 15 at Delaware Park.

Bryan's Jewel won multiple stakes in 22 starts, but couldn't quite step up to the next level for owners Barry and Joni Butzow. On June 15 she worked hard to get the job done, overcoming traffic troubles en route to victory in the $109,125 Obeah Stakes (gr. III) at Delaware Park (VIDEO).

The 5-year-old daughter of Rockport Harbor was boxed in and forced to wait for running room until the upper stretch, then dug deep to withstand the challenge of 10-1 shot And Why Not by a neck. She finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.21 under jockey Alex Cintron as the 1-5 favorite over five other fillies and mares, collecting her first graded stakes score for trainer McLean Robertson.

The gray or roan mare wheeled around quickly from a 3 3/4-length win in the June 8 John W. Rooney Memorial at Delaware, a 1 1/16-mile event in which she cruised to victory over a wet fast track. She has now won three of five starts in 2013 with a second in the Winter Melody Stakes. Her lone off-the-board performance this year was a fifth in the April 12 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park.

Star's Tizzy Fit, a 22-1 shot, went out early and set the tempo for a quarter in :24.62 while two lengths ahead in the Obeah. She stayed a length in front through a half in :49.48 before pace-presser Ciguaraya took over to put up three-quarters in 1:13.72. Meanwhile, Bryan's Jewel was still fifth of a tightly bunched group and waiting for the chance to make her move.

The eventual winner took advantage of a seam between rivals coming down off the final turn and was headed for home when And Why Not joined the scene after looping four wide. That contender actually gained a small advantage on the outside through a mile in 1:38.84, but Bryan's Jewel would not be denied and fought back strongly in the final furlong.

Bryan's Jewel paid $2.60, $2.40, and $2.10 while And Why Not returned $5 and $3.20. Fire Assay was 4 1/2 lengths back in third for a $3 payoff, while Ciguaraya, Access to Charlie, and Star's Tizzy Fit completed the order of finish. 

Bryan's Jewel was bred in Kentucky by Peter Van Andel out of the Touch Gold mare Saphiria. A $67,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase in 2009, she improved her record to 8-5-4 from 23 starts with earnings of $421,178.