Changing Skies & Keertana Lead Cast for The Very One Sunday

Changing Skies & Keertana Lead Cast for The Very One Sunday

02/17/2011

By Jack Will

 Changing Skies & Keertana Lead Cast for The Very One Sunday

Swettenham Stud’s 6-year-old Irish-bred mare Changing Skies and Barbara Hunter’s 5-year-old mare Keertana ranked among the nation’s leading long-distance female turf stakes performers last season, and will be the favorites in a field of six drawn for Sunday’s $100,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) going 1 3/8 miles on grass at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux and Changing Skies teamed up for a dominating 3 ¾ lengths victory last out in the 12-furlong La Prevoyante Handicap (G3) at Calder Race Course on Jan. 2 as they did winning The Very One last year in late February.
A daughter of Sadler’s Wells, Changing Skies put together a string of other good efforts during the season, finishing second in the Bewitch Stakes (G2) (G3) at Keeneland and second in the New York Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park, winning the Waya Stakes at Saratoga and finishing a game second by a head in the Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) at Belmont in early October, but did not go to the Breeders’ Cup.
Jockey Jose Lezcano rides Keertana for trainer Tom Proctor in her first start since finishing in a dead-heat to win an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 23, sharing the victory with Proctor-trained stablemate You Go West Girl.
A Kentucky homebred by Johar, Keertana ran a very big race to finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, beaten a half-length for it all by Shared Account with defending champion Midday second.
Keertana was a good middle distance performer last spring winning allowance races at Keeneland and Churchill Downs and finishing a close-up third in the Mint Julep Handicap (G3) at Churchill, but hit her best stride going three turns to win the 11-furlong Glens Falls Handicap (G3) at Saratoga in early September by 3 ¼ lengths. 
The intriguing contender in Sunday’s race will be Belle Watling Syndicate’s 5-year-old Chilean-bred Belle Watling, winner of 13 of 16 career starts in her native land and making her North American debut for trainer Patrick Biancone with jockey Edgar Prado aboard. The daughter of Dushyantor has earned $574,000, a tidy sum for racing in Chile, including eight of 11 on turf.
Trainer Dale Romans sends out a pair in Brous Stable and Wachtel Stables’ 4-year-old Irish-bred Musical Rain with Javier Castellano aboard and Blue Devil Racing Stable’s 4-year-old Zappatition and Julien Leparoux named to ride.
Completing the field is Andrew Rosen’s 6-year-old Irish-bred Liberally with Rajiv Maraj in the saddle for trainer Tom Albertrani. The daughter of Statue of Liberty finished a game second by a neck in an 11-furlong course and distance allowance tune-up here on Feb. 4 after chasing Changing Skies home fourth in the La Prevoyante.