Chop Chop Makes the Grade in G3 Bewitch

April 26, 2024

Chop Chop and Axel Concepcion take the Bewitch (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

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Keeneland Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— Chop Chop, the 3-1 third choice owned by Jerry Bach’s Selective LLC, took the lead on the final turn and scored a 2¼-length victory in the $290,125 Bewitch (G3) Presented by Keeneland Sales on Friday, closing day of the Keeneland Spring Meet.

Ridden by Axel Concepcion for trainer Brad Cox, Chop Chop covered 1½ miles on a firm turf course in 2:27.80. The victory marked the first graded stakes win for Concepcion, who won the 2023 Eclipse Award as the outstanding apprentice jockey in North America.

Chop Chop, who was bred in Kentucky by Cobra Farm and MRJ Thoroughbreds, is a 4-year-old daughter of City of Light out of Grand Sofia, by Giant’s Causeway. She earned $183,675 for today’s performance to increase her career bankroll to $880,152 with a record of 15-5-5-2.

The winner paid $8.92, $4.80 and $3.16. Runner-up Atomic Blonde (GER), ridden by Joel Rosario, returned $4.80 and $3.16. Vergara was another 4½ lengths behind in third with Flavien Prat aboard and paid $2.64.

Tower Bridge was fourth, followed by Tic Tic Tic Boom and Lovely Princess.

Commandcontrol, Queens Command (IRE) and War Like Goddess were scratched.

Quotes for the Bewitch (G3) Presented by Keeneland Sales

Brad Cox (winning trainer of Chop Chop)

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs with her. We really liked her a lot as a 2-year-old. She was narrowly defeated here on the dirt in the (2022) Darley Alcibiades (G1 in which she was second, beaten a nose). We really thought going into the (2022 NetJets) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Fillies-G1), she was going to win. She kind of had a meltdown in the paddock a couple days prior that year, and we didn’t get the performance we were looking for (when she finished last).

I want to congratulate Mr. (Jerry) Bach (owner, Selective LLC) for keeping her in training. He thought about retiring her after last year but kept her in training, and I think today it paid off. (Jockey) Axel (Concepcion) has done a great job with her all winter. He worked her several times. He’s a hardworking young jock. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future. He’s a serious, serious rider, and I’m very proud of him. This was a big win for him today. I’m very proud of the filly.”

On distances of future races:

“If the right race presents itself, anywhere from I think a mile and a sixteenth to a mile and a half. It opens up a lot of doors for her. I was glad to see her run as well as she did today, and we’ll probably stick with the marathon distance for the time being.”

Axel Concepcion (winning jockey)

Concepcion all smiles after a special victory (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

“I first thank (trainer) Brad (Cox) and the owner (Jerry Bach) for giving me the opportunity. I just took my time on the backside and followed the No. 8 (Vergara). I thought she was the horse I needed to beat. I was taking my time. I had a lot of horse, so I was just waiting for the moment. At the top of the stretch I asked her to give me more.”

On recording his first stakes win at Keeneland and the first graded stakes win of his career

“Wow. I’m very happy. My first graded win. I thank Brad for the opportunity. It’s just doing the hard work. I thank my agent for the great job, and I’ll just keep doing the work.”

Joel Rosario (rider of runner-up Atomic Blonde [GER])

“She ran really well. Looks like she came back in really good form today. She was finishing off on me in the end. She ran a good race after the layoff (her last race was last November). We go to the next one.”

Flavien Prat (rider of third-place finisher Vergara)

“The trip was good. She ran a good race after a long layoff, so she should continue to improve off of this race.”

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