February 28, 2024

Endeavour to change tactics works for Dona Bruja

Dona Bruja served up a plot twist by going straight to the early lead in the Endeavour (Photo courtesy SV Photography)

Last seen left with too much to do when fourth in the October 7 First Lady (G1) at Keeneland, Dom Felipe’s homebred Dona Bruja, and new rider Jose Ortiz, seized the initiative from the start and dominated Saturday’s $150,000 Endeavour (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

The Argentine champion was sent off as the 7-5 second choice, with bettors making La Coronel the even-money favorite. But Dona Bruja was far too classy after getting away with fractions of :23.92, :48.02, and 1:11.05 on the firm course. By the time La Coronel improved into a contending position, Dona Bruja delivered a telling turn of foot and drew away by four lengths. The Ignacio Correas IV trainee rattled off her final sixteenth in :6.18 and finished 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.92.

La Coronel was a length up on third-placer Truly Together, and Lovely Loyree rounded out the superfecta. Next came America Mon Amie, Viva Vegas, and the tailed-off Josdesanimaux, who chased Dona Bruja early. Westit was withdrawn in favor of Gulfstream’s Suwannee River (G3), where she wound up fifth.

Eight-for-10 in her homeland, Dona Bruja crowned her Argentine career with a top-level tally in the 2016 Gran Premio Copa de Plata (G1). The daughter of Bernstein stallion Storm Embrujado made an impact straightaway in North America when rallying smartly to take last summer’s Mint Julep H. (G3) at Churchill Downs. She made it two-for-two in the Modesty H. (G3), deploying a lethal charge from the rear. Just denied by Dacita as a dead-heat runner-up in the Beverly D. (G1), Dona Bruja had the race shape all against her in the First Lady. That late-running fourth is the only time she’s ever missed the exacta.

Plans called for her to contest the Cardinal (G3) back at Churchill in November, until the rains came and Correas scratched her in favor of awaiting 2018. Her scorecard now stands at 15-11-3-0, $536,568.

Bred by Ivan Roberto Gasparotto, whose nom de course is Dom Felipe, Dona Bruja was produced by the Australian-bred Nureyev mare This Is Crazy. Third dam Some Romance, a multiple Grade 1 winner by Fappiano, is also the ancestress of Group 3 victress Infallible, dam of Mutakayyef, Intimation, and 2018 European classic prospect Veracious.