Unraced since a second in the 2016 Comely (G3), Lewis Bay looked like a distaffer to be reckoned with next year when returning in Saturday’s $100,000 Rampart (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The Chad Brown-trained filly showed good speed from the start of the one-mile event and shook loose from even-money favorite Curlin’s Approval in the stretch to score by 1 1/4 lengths beneath Irad Ortiz Jr.
Owned and bred by Alpha Delta Stable Inc., Lewis Bay was off as the 2-1 second choice among seven rivals following the 385-day layoff. The 4-year-old filly broke on top from post 3, reaching the quarter-pole in :23.96 with a narrow lead over Curlin’s Approval to her inside.
Up by a head after a half-mile in :46.59, Lewis Bay was being ridden chilly by Ortiz while Curlin’s Approval was under encouragement from Luis Saez as the duo reached the conclusion of the far turn. The bay lass was given her cue by Ortiz while straightening into the stretch, extending her advantage to half-length through three-quarters in 1:10.74, and wasn’t seriously threatened to the wire.
“She had been training so sharp the last couple weeks, wanting to run,” Brown said. “As a team we said in the paddock if she breaks really sharp take it to the favorite.”
“I had a pretty good trip,” Ortiz said. “She was coming off a long layoff and I didn’t want to be too aggressive out of there but she broke sharp. Chad told me not to take anything away from her if she can get it easy, so I just let her break and be wherever she was comfortable. When I asked her she was there for me. She responded really good.”
Three-time graded winner Curlin’s Approval proved to be a stubborn foe, battling gamely throughout, but had to settle for second best as Lewis Bay drew clear late. The winner completed the one-turn mile in 1:36/14.
Curlin’s Approval held second by 3 ¼ lengths over 5-1 third choice Nonna Mela. It was another two lengths back to Gamble’s Ghost, who completed the superfecta as the 9-1 fourth choice.
By Bernardini, Lewis Bay hails from the Grade 3-winning Summer Squall mare Summer Raven and counts as half-siblings Grade 3 winners Misconnect and Winslow Homer. She’s also closely related to Grade 3 vixen Lost Raven.
While she came back at one-turn, Lewis Bay has proven more than adept at longer distances. She earned her first big win when making her stakes debut the third time out in the 2016 Demoiselle (G2) at 1 1/8 miles and captured the Gazelle (G2) at the same trip in her second start at age 3.
Third in last year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1), Lewis Bay followed with a runner-up effort in the Mother Goose (G1) and captured the Turnback the Alarm (G3) in her penultimate start of 2016.
She’s now earned $866,360 from a 11-5-4-1 record.