Smokin Nebulae Powers Through to Win Bewitch

Bewitch (Grade 3)- $150.000 Purse
KEE- For Fillies and Mares Four Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Turf
April 27, 2018

The 14th running of the Bewitch saw a close finish at the wire after twelve furlongs of racing on the turf, and at the end it would be the experience of Smokin Nebulae that came out on top. Overall, the race did not have the same quick fractions as other prior races that Smokin Nebulae had recently participated in, and as such this consistent mare did not have to make up that much ground in the stretch to get the victory. Her trainer is Drabfantasy, who picked up his first graded win of 2018, snapping a bit of a slump that he had been in while running at this level. It’s his first win in the stake, but for jockey J R Velazquez, it’s the second straight year he has been in the winners circle, as he rode Cant Touch That last year. Congratulations to the them! The time of the victory was 2:26.34, a middle of the road winning time for the race. Here’s a look at it!

(½ Mile- :49.43)- Gift Of Rain, from Maxmillion Farm, would be the quickest starter as both she and Smokey Stover’s Mo Ki Missy broke well from the outside posts. As the initial furlongs went in the books, Gift Of Rain pulled away by a length from that one, and would run by herself along the opening turn. Mo Ki Missy settled into a stalking position right behind her, running a length and a half back, and to the outside of the ridiculous longshot, Sunset Beach Bunny, from Nakamura Stables, into the front stretch. A solid, but not rushed start had Sunset Beach Bunny in a fine position for her few supporters in the stands. Blessed Dogma was a length behind them in fourth for Mb Stables, as the eventual runner up seemed perfectly content in the middle of the field. Pip Wicked, for Chili King Stables, would be next, initially looking like she might be well off the pace, before settling in a length behind Blessed Dogma. Our eventual race winner, Smokin Nebulae, not surprisingly was near the back, but you had to like where the Drabfantasy mare was on the track, riding the rail, and just five out of it. Bonkers was about three lengths behind Smokin Nebulae, for her trainer, Team 7 Illusions.

(3/4 Mile- 1:13.72)- In a twelve furlong race, this would not be a point of the race where we would expect to see much changes, and that’s how it played out. Halfway through the race, the field was pretty much in the same running order. Mo Ki Missy got a bit closer to Gift Of Rain, but that one was still pacing the field at this point. Blessed Dogma moved up a bit, as well, but more so to position herself for later. Smokin Nebulae still had the five length distance and continued to be in an ideal spot for her racing style. She was preparing a pass of Pip Wicked at this stage.

(Top Of Stretch, 2F To Go)- Towards the end of the backstretch, and rounding the turn, things were getting interesting at the back of the field. Bonkers, who had been running at the very back, seemed to explode with run midway through the turn, and was within two and a half lengths of the lead before one could blink an eye. The only negative of this is that she ended about six wide. Meanwhile, Smokin Nebulae came off the rail, and moved to the outside of Blessed Dogma, putting herself about four wide. Perhaps Velazquez peaked at the odds board and saw the potential of being blocked in by an 875/1 longshot, because it wasn’t until after this move was made that Gift Of Rain began to show signs of fatigue. The champion jockey anticipated that well, of course, in reality, and it was the right move. Mo Ki Missy led for now, but those behind her were coming. Blessed Dogma’s methodical race to this point had her positioned well to be a new leader for a moment, but the heat was coming from behind.

(Finish- 2:26.34)- In the stretch, the decision by J R Velazquez to move Smokin Nebulae four wide proved to be critical for the race win. Smokin Nebulae, as one would expect, was strong in the stretch, but Blessed Dogma had fight in her as well, and made her earn it in the stretch. It was a battle, but Smokin Nebulae would prevail in the photo for the win. The run by Bonkers on the outside was hindered by the drifting out of Pip Wicked. This seemed to prevent her from being in an all out drive like she could. She’d be within a half a length and finished third, but C J Lanerie won’t be buying A Beschizza dinner after the race. A steady run by Sunset Beach Bunny allowed the longshot to be fourth, ahead of Mo Ki Missy and Gift Of Rain. Pip Wicked rounds out the field.

About The Winner- Smokin Nebulae, trained by Drabfantasy and ridden to victory by J R Velazquez, is a five year old mare Sweep The Nebulae, and is out of Easy Fire Smokin. She was bred in New York by Drabfantasy as a fourth quarter two year old, and they have been together throughout. Congratulations to the connections! The win is her fourth in 17 starts, and all four wins, even the first one, were in graded stakes. Her career earnings are now $681.000.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Smokin Nebulae Drabfantasy Velazquez J R 3.05   1hd 2:26.34 — 
  Blessed Dogma Mb Stables Leparoux J R 8.85   2nk 2:26.38 — 
  Bonkers Team 7 Illusions Lanerie C J 2.15   31 2:26.45 — 
  Sunset Beach Bunny Nakamura Stables Landeros C 875.95   41/2 2:26.65 — 
  Mo Ki Missy Smokey Stover Albarado R J 1.40   5nk 2:26.78 — 
  Gift Of Rain Maxmillion Farm Bridgmohan S X 12.00   61 2:26.84 — 
  Pip Wicked Chili King Stables Beschizza A 42.30   7 2:27.13 — 

Track: Firm

Time: :492  1:133  2:02   2:261

$2 Mutuel Prices:

1 – Smokin Nebulae 8.10 4.70 2.90
4 – Blessed Dogma   9.90 4.40
2 – Bonkers     2.60

$1 Exacta: 1 – 4 Paid 25.50

$1 Trifecta: 1 – 4 – 2 Paid 46.10

Scratched: None

Winner picked by NS

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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