As trainer Tom Proctor will attest, Keertana is the kind of mare who can spoil everyone fortunate enough to be around her.
She has an easygoing temperament and tends to take care of herself. But more important, Keertana takes care of her competition, thanks to her equally steady talent.
"She does everything, and I'm just lucky to go along for the ride," Proctor said.
The six other horses in Keeneland's Grade III Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes were not nearly so fortunate Thursday as Keertana surged to the front in midstretch en route to a 11/4-length win over My Baby Baby on the turf.
Owned and bred by Nicholasville's Barbara Hunter, Keertana hasn't had too many bad days during her career. The dark bay daughter of Johar has been off the board only four times in 25 starts and was beaten by just half a length in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf last November, when she ran third.
Keertana looked every bit the 2-1 favorite in the 11/2-mile Bewitch, advancing six-wide entering the stretch and kicking home easily under jockey Jose Lezcano to pick up her 10th career victory and fourth graded-stakes triumph.
"She's a pretty easy filly to handle, and it's awful nice for Ms. Hunter to win a race here at Keeneland," Proctor said. "I've known (Hunter) since I was a kid, and my dad's best friend (Stanley Rieser) was her trainer for a long time, so it's pretty neat.
"This filly here ... we're lucky. She's a very classy filly, and she's made some money. She carries me."
Though Keertana sat just off the pace in winning her first two starts this year — including the Grade III Very One Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 20 — the 5-year-old rated next to last in the Bewitch through an opening half-mile in :50.25.
Pacesetter Honimiere opened up a 11/2-length advantage after taking over the lead going by the grandstand the first time and was still out front as she settled into the stretch drive.
By that point, however, Keertana was looming on the far outside after picking off horses approaching the final turn, hitting the wire in 2:33.08 over a course rated good.
"She probably just likes to have the three turns," Proctor said. "She's run some pretty powerful races when we've run her there."
My Baby Baby was a length clear of Honimiere for second, and second-choice La Luna de Miel flattened out in the lane to come home fourth.
Proctor did not indicate where Keertana could start next but did hint that this year's Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs could be a long-term goal.
"I think she's as good this year as any year," he said. "She's Grade I quality."