04/23/2009 12:00AM

Winter View captures Bewitch


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Add another graded stakes-winning mare to Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard's barn.

The Sheppard-trained Winter View, making her first start in stakes company since being brought to the United States from France in early 2008, unleashed a furious stretch kick to win the Grade 3, $150,000 Bewitch Stakes by two lengths before a crowd of 12,643 at Keeneland Thursday.

Her victory followed graded wins earlier in the meet for Sheppard by champion Forever Together in the Jenny Wiley and Informed Decision in the Vinery Madison.

Although Winter View ($11.60) was a comfortable winner late, things did not seem to be going her way early. In a race lacking speed, favored Dress Rehearsal was able to make the front and set dawdling fractions, as the late-running Winter View raced in last in the field of seven.

But not even fractions of 53.72 seconds, 1:19.40, and 1:45.42 were enough for the front-runners to resist the rally of Winter View in the 1 1/2-mile Bewitch.

Once Winter View was swung to the outside, she used her superior acceleration to blow past the field. She covered the 12 furlongs on a firm turf course in 2:34.11.

Communique, who raced wide throughout, edged favored Dress Rehearsal by a neck for the place.

Winning jockey Julien Leparoux, who also was aboard Forever Together and Informed Decision in their graded wins this meet, chose not to alter Winter View's closing style, despite the slow pace.

"I was a little concerned about the slow fractions, but I know that's her style," Sheppard added.

Winter View, a 5-year-old daughter of Thunder Gulch, earned $93,000 in winning the Bewitch for owner-breeder George Strawbridge Jr. of Augustin Stable.