Three-year olds Daydreaming and Bending Strings took down the top two spots in the Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct on Friday. The photo finish went to Daydreaming, who won her first graded stakes.
Daydreaming was well positioned under Jerry Bailey as they tracked the pace around the far turn with Bending Strings and Shaun Bridgmohan on the rail behind the leaders. Bailey sent Daydreaming after the leaders leaving the 5/16th pole, leaving Bending Strings two lengths behind and having to switch to the far outside.
"I think this filly might have a chance to be pretty good," winning trainer, Shug McGaughey said. "She beat a solid group. She was kind of professional."
Daydreaming had little trouble disposing of the early leaders and drew clear in the final furlong before facing another challenge from Bending Strings.
"Bending Strings was way out in the middle of the track. I could see her, but (Daydreaming) couldn't see her," Jerry Bailey said after winning his record fifth Top Flight. "The last two jumps she saw (Bending Strings) and you could feel her surge again."
The win was the fifth in eight starts this year for Daydreaming, who is halfway to being a millionaire with career earnings of $562,180. She has now won two consecutive graded stakes races after the Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks last month.
McGaughey said the daughter of A.P. Indy
out of the Mr. Prospector mare Get Lucky will head to Florida where she figures to be one of the top rated older females under consideration for major stakes races at Gulfstream Park.
Bending Strings was denied a fourth graded stakes victory of the year and is also likely headed to Florida for trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin. Roar Emotion finished third, 2-1/4 lengths behind Bending Strings.
Holiday Fest got off to a belated start following the cancellation of Thursday's Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III) due to deteriorating track conditions brought on by heavy rain. That race has been redrawn as part of Sunday's card, minus original favorite Bwana Charlie who had been scratched Thursday after not eating up his dinner the night before.
Daydreaming returned $4.10, 2.60, 2.20 and completed the mile in 1:35.29.