Charmer strikes in Beaugay
The Mark Hennig mare prepped with an eye-catching second in the April 16 Plenty of Grace at Aqueduct, where she rallied off a tepid pace. Overlooked at 9-1 in the Beaugay, Strike Charmer got a rollicking pace, and a well-judged ride by new pilot Irad Ortiz Jr., to spring the $20 upset.
The early tempo came courtesy of 9-5 favorite My Miss Sophia, who sprinted to a daylight lead through splits of :23.29, :46.31 and 1:09.83 on the firm Widener turf. Tapitry was a clear second, while Strike Charmer was guided into a rail-skimming spot in fourth, but toward the head of the main body of the field.
Tapitry was the first to pounce on My Miss Sophia, catching her turning into the stretch and taking command. Then Ortiz played his hand at the right time. Angling off the fence, and coming around Tapitry, Strike Charmer blew past and opened up by 2 1/4 lengths at the wire. Her final time for 1 1/16 miles was a snappy 1:39.22, not far off the Widener course mark of 1:38.53 established by Fortitude on September 6, 1997.
The hard-luck story of the race was Recepta, who would have been better than a late-running third but for costly early trouble. Drawn on the rail, she might well have had the very trip that Strike Charmer worked out. Unfortunately, Recepta was in tight quarters early, clipped Ball Dancing’s heels, and checked. That mishap relegated her to the tail of the field. Recepta recovered to launch a strong rally, missing second by just a half-length.
My Miss Sophia faded to fourth, followed by Ticking Katie; Miss Atomic Bomb, who raced alongside Strike Charmer for the first six furlongs before giving way; Ball Dancing, who broke through the starting gate prior to the race, endured early bumping, and never threatened; and Sistas Stroll, at or near the rear throughout.
Initially developed by David Carroll (now a member of Team Casse), Strike Charmer also placed in the 2014 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf and 2015 Mint Julep (G3) in addition to her Cardinal trophy. She made a winning debut for Hennig in an Aqueduct optional claimer November 26, but could muster only a sixth in the January 9 Marshua’s River (G3) at Gulfstream. In the post-Beaugay interview, Hennig mentioned that Strike Charmer found the Gulfstream course “hard,” so they opted to freshen her up and point for springtime in New York. The Empire State courses certainly agree with her, and her resume now reads 18-5-4-3, $384,850.
Strike Charmer is out of the Grade 2-placed, stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Cat Charmer, who is herself a half-sister to 2000 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) third Impeachment. This is the exceptional family of all-time great English sprinter Dayjur, Hall of Famer Sky Beauty, turf standout Point of Entry, et al.
Photo courtesy NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand.