Heavy favorite Lakenheath found her best stride in the stretch Friday at Fair Grounds, winning the $75,000 Truly Bound Handicap by a half-length over a fast-charging Bala.
Owned by James Tafel and trained by Gene Cilio, Lakenheath covered the 1 1/16 mile on a fast main track in 1:45.48.
"She's been more precocious in the early part of her races since she's turned 4," Cilio said. "All her good races right now, she wants to be close to lead and she will give them a challenge."
The 3-5 favorite returned $3.20, $2.80, and $2.40.
Lakenheath stalked the pace through average fractions before swinging three-wide in the stretch turn. Under strong handling from Robby Albarado, Lakenheath opened up a length in front of Swinging Gate and held off Bala.
Took Out rallied along the rail for third in the six-horse field.
"Lakenheath has given herself a big chance these days," Albarado said. "When she was younger she was giving herself a lot of work to do and running late all the time. Her last four of five races, she's been laying closer and she's matured into a nice mare."
Lakenheath won the Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds as a 3-year-old in 2001 and the Arlington Matron (gr. III) last September. The 5-year-old mare by Colonial Affair, with her sixth win from 21 starts, has earned $468,276.