Confidently handled by Declan Cannon, Argentine-bred Dona Bruja won Saturday's Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park with breathtaking ease, rallying from near the back of the pack at the top of the stretch to win going away by one length under a hand ride. A 5-year-old mare by the Bernstein stallion Storm Embrujado trained by Ignacio Correas IV and owned by Dom Felipe, Dona Bruja covered 1 3/16 miles on firm turf in 1:55.75.
Prado's Sweet Ride finished second behind the 11-10 favorite, with Time and Motion third and Daring Duchess fourth in the field of six older fillies and mares. The Modesty serves as a local prep race for the G1 Beverly D Stakes on the Arlington Million program at the suburban Chicago racetrack on Aug. 12.
Breaking from the rail, Dona Bruja settled into fifth early as One Liz set moderate fractions of :24.59, :50.37 and 1:14.08 for the opening six furlongs. When the field hit the top of the stretch, the mile in 1:38.74, Cannon eased Dona Bruja to the outside, moved his hands on the mare, and she responded with a powerful burst of speed to win easily.
“I had a lot of confidence in this filly,” said Cannon. “All I wanted to do was get her settled into a nice rhythm, and she relaxed really nice for me, more so today than she has before, she's very professional.”
Asked just how good Dona Bruja is, Correas said, “I don't what's the limit, but I have to recognize the perfect ride Declan gave this filly, it was a great ride. I don't know if we'll find the ceiling, hopefully we never find it.”
Winner of the G3 Mint Julep Handicap on June 10 at Churchill Downs in her U.S. debut, Dona Bruja (out of the Australian-bred Nureyev mare, This Is Crazy), was a G1 winner in Argentina, taking the Copa de Plata Masilla International in her final start there. Overall, Dona Bruja has 10 wins and two seconds from 12 starts.
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