Olorda leads all the way in Bewitch
The German-bred filly Olorda failed to hit the board in her first three starts in the U.S. last season, but is starting to make up for it this term. On Friday, closing day of the Keeneland Spring Meet, Olorda turned in her second consecutive gate-to-wire victory in taking the $150,000 Bewitch (G3) over 1 1/2 miles on the turf.
Under Julien Leparoux, the four-year-old daughter of Lord of England was sent to the front and cut out fractions of :24.86, :49.27, 1:14.64, 1:39.97, and 2:05.20. Tracked by longshot Annulment but otherwise far ahead of the rest of the field most of the way, Olorda was still in front entering the stretch as the field began to get closer.
However, Olorda had plenty left to maintain her advantage to the wire and comfortably held off a late rally from Al's Gal to win by a half-length, with 5-2 favorite Songoficeandfire third. Olorda covered the distance in 2:30.09 and paid $8.60 to win.
Olorda kicked off her 2016 campaign March 5 at Gulfstream Park, taking The Very One (G3) by a neck over odds-on favorite Dacita. Her final time of 1:51.54 for 1 3/16 miles was one of the fastest ever recorded at the distance.
"We figured out she runs best that way," said trainer Chad Brown about the change in tactics from last year, when she failed to place in the Belmont Oaks (G1), Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), and Matriarch (G1) attempting to come from off the pace. "It was asking a lot of her to go 1 1/2 miles."
Owned by Martin Schwartz, Olorda won two of five starts in Europe prior to her importation. Her most important win came in the Prix Vanteaux (G3) at Longchamp in May, with a third in Prix Saint-Alary (G1) coming in her final start on the continent.
Bred by Gestut Berwangerhof, Olorda was reared by the Desert King mare Oligarchica, making her a full sister to the multiple Group 2-placed Oil of England.