Squirtle Squirt dueled with Explicit through blistering early fractions before being caught at the wire by 45-1 longshot Ceeband in Sunday's $296,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Invitational Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park. Bred in California by Cecelia Straub-Rubens, breeder of reigning Horse of the Year Tiznow, Ceeband returned $91.80, $25.40, and $13.80 and led a $1 exacta worth $167.90.
Squirtle Squirt outdueled Explicit through early fractions of :21.61 and :43.73 as those two cleared third-place Ceeband by seven lengths. Squirtle Squirt edged clear of Explicit and opened up a four-length lead in the stretch before tiring in the final furlong. Under jockey Matt Garcia, Ceeband completed the seven furlongs in 1:21.17 on a fast track.
Elaborate finished third, 2 1.2 lengths behind Squirtle Squirt. Redattore, Grey Memo, Lord Grillo, Stormy Jack, National Saint, Last Parade, and Explicit completed the order of finish. Likely favorite Caller One scratched in favor of a likely start in the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap on July 22 at Del Mar.
A 4-year-old son of Chimes Band, Ceeband earned his first stakes win and $180,000 for the victory, his fifth in 24 starts. In his lone prior stakes placing, Ceeband finished third against fellow Cal-breds in the Snow Chief Stakes. In his most recent start prior to Sunday's win, he finished fifth in the 7 1/2-furlong Ack Ack Stakes. John Sadler trains him for owner C R K Stable. (Chart, Equibase