04/25/2013 5:09PM

Keeneland: Motion's lowest rated filly takes Bewitch at 18-1

Coady Photography
Strathnaver carries Joel Rosario to his fourth of five wins on Thursday's card at Keeneland in the Bewitch Stakes.

LEXINGTON – Trainer Graham Motion brought three fillies into the $150,000 Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes on Thursday at Keeneland, and the least heralded of the trio brought the trophy home.

Strathnaver, a recent import from England owned by Andrew Stone who was sent off at 18-to-1, took the 1 1/2-mile turf race by one length after running down the second choice, Regalo Mia, deep in the stretch. It was Strathnaver’s second win in a row, following a victory in a 1 3/16-mile non-winners of one allowance race on the Gulfstream turf on March 16.

Strathnaver was one of 11 fillies and mares in a deep, experienced field of turf runners, and one of three Motion entered in the race. But she was overshadowed in the betting by Motion’s other two runners, who were 8-to-1 and 16-to-1, and was the seventh choice in the field.

A minor handicap winner in England with only that one Florida allowance win under her belt this year, Strathnaver did not have the kind of form to jump off the page. But she did have Joel Rosario up in the saddle, and at Keeneland this spring, that’s nearly been enough. With five wins on the nine-race card on Thursday (and four on Wednesday’s card), Rosario has 35 wins at the Keeneland spring meet, a record.

“People were more surprised about this filly [being in the race] than I was,” Motion said after the race. “I told everyone how confident I was about her. Anyone who asked, that is. And it helps having Joel. He is just on fire.”

Strathnaver ran the 1 1/2 miles over the firm turf in 2:30.65. She surged late in the stretch to somewhat clumsily catch Regalo Mia, who had shot through a gap in the rail at the top of the stretch after the race’s three frontrunners all wilted following a mile and quarter in 2:05.13. Regalo Mia’s lead looked good enough at the eighth pole, but Strathnaver kept coming.

“We kind of tired a little bit, but that’s a long race,” Rosario said.

Quischi, one of the other Graham Motion horses – who is also owned by Andrew Stone – was third.

Strathnaver, by Oasis Dreams out of the Lahib mare River Belle, paid $38 to win and keyed a $150.60 exacta. The trifecta was $1,246.60. Her record is now four wins from 11 starts, with one second-place finish, along with earnings of $269,890.