Favored Play Bingo had something to prove and he did it emphatically in Saturday's $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes at Pimlico.
Riding a four-win streak into the 1 1/8-mile test for Maryland-bred 3-year-olds, Play Bingo beat several accomplished rivals in his first added-money trial.
Under jockey Jose Caraballo, Play Bingo let the speedsters move away around the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch, but straightening for home he reeled them in and drew off to a convincing 5-1/4-length victory. The son of Polish Numbers covered the distance in 1:52.34 and paid $5.60 as the slight favorite.
Water Cannon, returning from a five-month layoff, battled Diamond David to the head of the lane, put that one away at the furlong pole but could not hold off the winner and finished second. Longshot Hastego rallied into third.
John R.S. Fisher trains the winner for owner Erdenheim Farm at the Fair Hill training center. The bay colt's record now stands at five wins in seven starts.
"I've been training many years and this is the first time I've ever won five in a row," Fisher said.
Caraballo noted, "He broke sharp and was ready to go. I broke him, put him in a good spot and when I asked him to go he just took off. I knew I could put him wherever I wanted and he would take it from there."