Meridiana beats Alternate to the finish in the Bewitch Stakes.

Meridiana beats Alternate to the finish in the Bewitch Stakes.

Bill Straus

Meridiana Narrow Winner in Bewitch Stakes

Edgar Prado took Meridiana through on the rail and the 4-year-old filly won the $113,400 Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland Wednesday in a tight finish with Alternate. Favored Binya finished third.

Meridiana was in fourth for most all of the early running while longshots Tempus Fugit (50-1) and Mexican Moonlight (45-1) made the early running in the 1 1/2-mile grass race.

As the field turned for home, Binya, who had been laying third, took the lead, but Meridiana on the rail and Alternate, under Cornelio Velasquez, to her outside put he squeeze on the favorite.

Meridiana, by Lomitas out of the Dashing Blade mare Monbijou, just got up at the wire for the win and paid $12, $6, and $3.40. Alternate returned $11.60 and $6, and Binya was worth $2.80 in the show spot.

"We had a wonderful trip," said Prado. "It couldn't have gone any better. I was biding my time and got through at the right time. She was a little timid down the stretch and she wasn't giving me a 100 % or she would have won by more."

"I tried to put a little pressure on John Velazquez (aboard Binya) to keep Meridiana from coming through on the inside but it didn't work," said Velasquez. "My filly tried all the way to the end."

The German-bred winner is owned by Sarah and Jon Kelly and trained by Christophe Clement. She won the Orchid Handicap (gr. IIT) in her last start March 21 at Gulfstream. She raced first in Europe where she was a group I winner, taking the Italian Oaks last year.

(Chart, Equibase)