Friday, April 27, 2012

Upperline Wins Grey Goose Bewitch as Keeneland Sets Meet Attendance Record

LEXINGTON, KY (April 26, 2012) – Upperline took the lead inside the final furlong and scored a 1½-length victory in the 51st running of the $150,000 Grey Goose Bewitch (G3) before a crowd of 11,253 fans at Keeneland. With one day remaining in Keeneland’s 15-day spring meeting, today’s attendance pushed the season’s total attendance to 251,909, surpassing the previous record 250,163 from the 2011 fall meet.

Ridden by James Graham, Upperline was the 2-1 second choice in the field of eight fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up, racing 1½ miles on the turf course. Breaking from post five, she led her rivals through a leisurely opening quarter of :29.96. By the time the horses crossed the finish with one circuit remaining, Shimmering Moment had taken the lead and ran the first half-mile in :54.01. Senada was in closest pursuit while Graham placed Upperline fourth along the rail.

Turning for home, Upperline waited behind the leaders approaching the stretch and angled out for the drive. She split the leaders inside the furlong and drew clear to win win in 2:33.28.

Mike Stidham, who won the Giant’s Causeway on Saturday with Flash Mash, trains Upperline and owns the 5-year-old daughter of Maria’s Mon with Arthur B. Hancock III’s Stone Farm, John Adger and Jack Hodge’s Oak Crest Farm. Upperline earned $90,000 for the victory to increase her career earnings to $497,108 with seven wins in 19 career starts. Upperline has won two of her four lifetime races at Keeneland.

Upperline paid $6, $3.60 and $2.80. Woodford Belle, ridden by Julien Leparoux, made a late run to finish second and returned $4.80 and $3.40. Finishing third was Senada, who was ridden by Javier Castellano and paid $3.80.

Completing the order of finish were 8-5 favorite Here to Win (BRZ), Thislilsoulofmine, Shimmering Moment, Distorted Alice and Hemera.

The victory gave Graham his third stakes victory of the meet. He rode Karlovy Vary to win the Central Bank Ashland (G1) on April 7 and was aboard Daisy Devine to take the Jenny Wiley (G1) on April 14.

According to Trakus, Upperline covered the least amount of ground of any of the horses in the race. Woodford Belle covered 41 feet more than Upperline, and lost by only about 1.25 lengths; 41 feet, however, equates to about 4.8 lengths of added ground.

Keeneland’s season ends on Friday with a 10-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m. The featured event is the 27th running of the $150,000 Elkhorn (G2), another 1 ½-mile stakes on the turf. Starters include 10-year-old millionaire Musketier (GER), who is bidding for his third consecutive victory in the race.

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