10/14/2011 3:09PM

Woodbine: Two fillies take aim on Nearctic

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Michael Burns
Jenny's So Great, with Jesse Campbell riding, wins the Royal North.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Last year, European invader Serious Attitude became the first filly to win the Nearctic Stakes in the race’s modern era.

On Sunday, two fillies from different sides of the pond will be looking to follow that blueprint in the Grade 1, $500,000 Nearctic at six furlongs on the turf course.

Bewitched, an Irish-bred 4-year-old, has raced in Ireland, England, and France and will be making her North American debut for trainer Charles O’Brien, son of the famed Vincent O’Brien.

Jenny’s So Great, a 4-year-old Ontario-bred, has made all but one of her starts at Woodbine for trainer Greg De Gannes.

Bewitched has won 8 of 19 starts and added 3 third-place finishers for earnings of $297,221, while Jenny’s So Great has compiled a record of 6-4-3 for a bankroll of $561,479 from 21 starts.

It will be Bewitched, however, who will attract more attention at the mutuels as a six-time stakes winner who has shown an ability to handle the off going which she is likely to encounter in the Nearctic.

Bewitched is coming into the Nearctic off a fourth-place finish on Oct. 2 in Longchamp’s Group 1 Prix de la Foret, in which she was beaten eight lengths by winner Dream Ahead and fractionally less by runner-up Goldikova.

“She was probably losing at the last part,” said Paul Ryan, traveling head lad for O’Brien. “Seven furlongs might stretch her a bit.”

Joel Rosario picks up the mount on Bewitched, who has four Group 3 stakes wins on her r é sum é , with all of those coming in mixed company.

Jenny’s So Great has won three stakes, all on the turf, with her most important victory coming in the Grade 3 Royal North for fillies and mares at six furlongs here Aug. 1.

In her next and most recent outing, Jenny’s So Great journeyed to Pennsylvania for the Grade 2 Presque Isle Masters over six furlongs on Tapeta and was gaining late to be beaten 1 3/4 lengths as the fifth-place finisher.

Jenny’s So Great had been entered in the Avowal, an overnight stakes at seven furlongs on turf here Oct. 1, but was scratched when the race was moved to the main track.

“When they took the race off the turf I felt that the Nearctic was an option, and I decided to exercise that option,” said De Gannes.

“I’m not discounting her last race – that race has a history of fillies going on to do well – but I feel that she’s a better filly on turf. She has a better late kick.”

Jockey Jesse Campbell, who has forged an effective partnership with Jenny’s So Great this season, will be aboard as the filly faces her most difficult task to date.

“Yes, it’s a big jump up for her,” said De Gannes. “But she’s doing well, and hopefully she’ll be able to make that jump.”

◗ The Canadian International and the E.P. Taylor will be televised live by The Score in a two-hour special beginning at 4 p.m.

Woodbine’s Jim Bannon and Chad Rozema will joined as hosts by Paul Lo Duca of TVG, which will be offering most of the broadcast.

Sandy Hawley and TVG’s Simon Bray will be roving reporters, and Renee Kierans will be on horseback for on-the-spot interviews with the E.P. Taylor and Canadian International winners..

The E.P. Taylor is scheduled to go off at 4:35 p.m. as the eighth race and the Canadian International at 5:42 p.m. as the 10th of 11 races on the program which begins at 1 p.m.