04/18/2010 11:00PM

Winchester can end losing streak


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Keeneland spring meet hardly can be described as a marathon, and yet that's the way it ends. How's that? Three-turn turf races serve as featured events on each of the last three programs that bring an end to the 15-day meet, including a second-level allowance that anchors a nine-race Wednesday card.

An overflow field of older horses has been entered in the eighth of nine races Wednesday, a $58,000 turf race at 1 1/2 miles. Winchester clearly is the class of the group and figures to be the solid favorite as he tries to snap an eight-race losing streak that has ensued since a sensational victory in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in August 2008.

Winchester, with Garrett Gomez riding for trainer Christophe Clement, will break from post 2 in his first start since finishing fourth at 8-5 in the Grade 3 Pan American at Gulfstream Park. A 5-year-old son of Theatrical bred and owned by Bert and Diana Firestone, Winchester was beaten a head as the favorite here last October in the Sycamore Stakes, the fall counterpart to the Elkhorn.

If Winchester somehow fails to pass through these lighter conditions, the most likely upsetter is Cozy Lion. Owned by the Lael Stables of Barbaro fame and trained by Barclay Tagg, Cozy Lion was ultra-game in winning a four-horse photo in his last race, an entry-level turf allowance at 1 3/8 miles at Gulfstream.

Hidden Glance, My Happiness, and A.P. Ridge also rate fair chances. In all, 14 were entered, although only as many as 12 can start.

The turf-marathon theme carries through to meet's end, with the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes set for Thursday and the Grade 2 Elkhorn for closing day, Friday. The 49th running of the $150,000 Bewitch, for fillies and mares at 1 1/2 miles, drew a field of seven, with Changing Skies, Floating Heart, and Lady Shakespeare the likely favorites.

Unlike many recent days here, when field sizes have tended to be moderate at best, each of the last six races Wednesday drew nine or more starters. In fact, the program ends with a full field of maiden special weight fillies at the rarely run distance of 1 3/16 miles on Polytrack.