08/05/2008 11:00PM

Tejida knocking at victory's door


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Moments after Tejida had been narrowly defeated in Keeneland's 1 1/2-mile Bewitch Stakes this spring, her trainer Michael Matz said, "We're going to win one of these things sooner or later."

Four months later, Matz's prophecy should finally be fulfilled by Tejida, the one to beat in Friday's $80,000 Waya Stakes at Saratoga. The Waya is scheduled to be run at a 1 1/2 miles on the inner turf course.

The Waya is written for fillies and mares who have not won a graded stakes on the turf in 2008. Tejida has come close to doing it on a couple of occasions this season, including the Grade 3 Bewitch in which she led nearly every step of the way but was run down by Communique in the shadow of the wire. Tejida also was beaten just a neck by the multiple graded stakes winner Mauralakana, after gaining the lead at midstretch, in Gulfstream Park's Grade 3 The Very One Handicap.

The Bewitch marked Tejida's initial try beyond 1 1/8 miles, which was "a big jump for her at the time," according to Matz. She has since gotten some additional long distance experience when finishing fourth in Belmont's 1 1/4-mile Grade 2 New York Stakes on June 21.

The most intriguing member of the compact lineup is Caprice, a German-bred mare, who finished a troubled third making her 2008 and U.S. debut at Delaware Park on June 30. That race was at 1 1/16 miles, a distance far shorter than Caprice preferred when racing in Europe earlier in her career.

Caprice was an easy winner going 1 1/2 miles last fall in France. She is trained by Graham Motion and will be ridden for the first time by recent Hall of Fame inductee Edgar Prado.

"I wasn't going out of my way to look for a stakes for her, but both the turf and the distance was a big enticement," Motion said. "There are limited opportunities to run at this distance, that's the main reason I brought her here - and she should also like the cut in the ground on this course. I thought her first start was very good all things considered, and she's done very well since that time."

Leap in the Sun, like Caprice, ships in from Delaware and, like Tejida, gets some much-needed class relief dropping from graded stakes company for the Waya.

Archstone finished fifth and last in the New York following a game second-place finish in the Sabin overnight stakes at Belmont six weeks earlier.