George Krikorian’s War Like Goddess added her name to the Keeneland record books when she scored her third consecutive victory in the $300,000 Bewitch (G3) Friday on closing day of the Spring Meet. Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Joel Rosario, War Like Goddess stalked the early pace, took the lead at the top of the stretch and held off a determined rally by Temple City Terror to win by 1½ lengths.
War Like Goddess is the third horse to win a Keeneland stakes three years in a row, joining Royal Harmony, who won the Fayette in 1969, 1970 and 1971, and Knight Counter, who took the Ben Ali in 1972, 1973 and 1974.
Making her first start since finishing third against males in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) in November at Keeneland, War Like Goddess covered the Bewitch’s 1½ miles on a turf course labeled good in 2:32.11.
The 1-2 favorite in the field of five older fillies and mares, War Like Goddess returned $3.00, $2.32 and $2.10. Temple City Terror, ridden by Jose Ortiz, paid $3.12 and $2.10. Finishing third another 11 lengths back was Personal Best, who paid $2.10 to show under Irad Ortiz Jr.
War Like Goddess is a 6-year-old daughter of English Channel out of Misty North, by North Light (IRE). A Keeneland sales graduate, she earned $186,000 today to boost her career bankroll to $2,158,184 with a record of 14-10-1-2.
Quotes for the $300,000 Bewitch (G3)
Click here for a replay of the race and the post-race interview with winning connections.
Bill Mott (winning trainer of War Like Goddess)
On winning the Bewitch three years in a row:
“She’s as good or better right now, and she’s just such a really special filly. They don’t come along that often. You can get a lot of horses in the barn, but to have one like this that’s so consistent and she shows up all the time – she’s just a very special horse. I’m very fortunate to have been the recipient of her when she came in as a 2-year-old.”
On the 6-year-old mare’s performance off the layoff, having last run third against males in the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) Nov. 5 at Keeneland
“She was outside of horses, she wasn’t tucked in, and she was still relaxed enough early. Going a mile-and-a-half, coming off a long freshening, you worry about them being a little rank or a little anxious. (Jockey) Joel (Rosario) was able to get in behind one horse coming by the stand the first time, she relaxed very nicely, and was responsive when he asked her to run.”
Joel Rosario (winning jockey)
“She was comfortable today, really relaxed, so I was happy with that. It was good for her today. (Temple City Terror) started moving a little bit (to the outside on the turn), probably because of the slow pace, and the horse in front (Personal Best) started moving before the three-eighths pole, so I had to kind of keep going with my spot, pick up on my spot, but she did great. I really thank (trainer) Bill (Mott) and owner George (Krikorian) for the opportunity.”
Jose Ortiz (rider of runner-up Temple City Terror)
“Perfect trip. This race, at three turns, you want to save ground around two. I did that. I saved a lot of ground the first two turns. I knew we were going slow enough, so when I got on the backside and I had the opportunity to go in the clear, I did. It was a race from that point on, from the half-mile pole, to the wire. The other mare (War Like Goddess) is very nice, but she had to run for her money today. I think my mare ran a huge race.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. (rider of third-place finisher Personal Best)
“Right (at the start), she had a little stumble out of there (so) I didn’t ask her to go. She got up to a nice speed. You can see the (slow) fractions, she made the lead on her own, then she switched off. She just couldn’t keep up.”
Tyler Gaffalione (rider of fourth-place finisher Ensemble-IRE)
“My filly settled back. We tried to make a run and get a good placing. It just wasn’t good enough today.”