It's not often a horse who has run in four straight Grade I races competes in a stakes in Maryland. But yesterday, Bending Strings, fresh from major races in New York, snatched the $150,000 Safely Kept Breeders' Cup at Pimlico Race Course with a dominating drive from last place.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin at Belmont Park, Bending Strings fell far back early before bulling her way through horses in the stretch under Horacio Karamanos, her local jockey, for a 2 1/4 -length victory. The Safely Kept, at six furlongs, was for 3-year-old fillies.
A Kentucky-bred daughter of American Chance, Bending Strings raced against first-class competition this summer in the Acorn, Prioress, Test and Gazelle, the top stakes at Belmont and Saratoga for sophomore fillies. She finished second in the Test behind Society Selection, fourth in the Acorn, sixth in the Gazelle and seventh in the Prioress.
Bending Strings was best in the Safely Kept, completing the six furlongs in 1 minute, 10.11 seconds. She paid a generous $9.80 to win as the third choice in the field of six. The Belmont-based Smokey Glacken, the even-money favorite, finished second. Then She Laughs claimed third. She was ridden by Stewart Elliott, jockey of Smarty Jones.
NOTES: A dispute involving the New York Racing Association, TVG (a national racing network) and the MidAtlantic Cooperative has left patrons throughout the region, including Maryland tracks and off-track-betting centers, without Belmont races since Sept. 15. A resolution isn't expected soon.
The MidAtlantic Cooperative represents 19 tracks in six states as well as their OTBs and account-wagering systems. The dispute centers on NYRA's granting TVG exclusive rights to account wagering on races at Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga. ...
NYRA has broken with Churchill Downs and the Maryland Jockey Club to broker its own TV deal for the Belmont Stakes. The three companies have negotiated deals together since 1986. ... Charles Town Races in West Virginia has ceased racing a second time because of problems with its recently renovated track surface. ... A total of 708 yearlings has been catalogued for the two-day Midlantic Eastern fall yearlings sale beginning tomorrow in Timonium. ... Post positions for the 12 Maryland Million races Saturday at Pimlico will be drawn at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Hall of Fame room.