Bedanken Queen of Bayou Breeders' Cup
Updated: Sunday, February 29, 2004 7:40 PM
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2004 8:44 PM
(from Fair Grounds' report)
Photo: AP/Fair Grounds, Lou Hodges Jr.
Bedanken, ridden by Don Pettinger, crosses the finish line to win the Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap at the Fair Grounds.
Bedanken turned in another monster performance in capturing the $125,000 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Fair Grounds' Stall-Wilson turf course Saturday.
Bedanken, who was guided through a perfect trip by regular rider Don Pettinger, slipped up the rail to collar Mexican Moonlight at the head of the lane, and powered home to be an easy 1 3/4-length victory. She hit the wire under confident handling in 1:52.74 for the 1 1/8-mile journey.
It was the 5-year-old gray mare's third consecutive win and fifth triumph in the last six races, all on grass, for trainer Donnie Von Hemel. Bedanken returned from a year's layoff with a one-length victory in her previous start, the Furl Sail at Fair Grounds on Dec. 26.
The daughter of Geri broke well and assumed a perfect position on the rail into the first turn, saving ground behind pacesetter Mexican Moonlight, who opened up a three-length advantage into the backstretch. As they approached the far turn, Mexican Moonlight's clear lead had vanished, as the field began to bunch together for the stretch run. But it was Bedanken who emerged from the pack and assumed full command in the flight for the wire.
Bedanken returned $5, $3.60 and $3 as the favorite in a field of 10 older fillies and mares. Due To Win Again, who won a photo for the place, paid $9 and $6.60, while Lady Linda returned $4.80 to show.
"The race set up really well," said Pettinger. "She was very comfortable. The horse on the lead was getting out at the top of the stretch, and I took advantage of it."
Bedanken won for a ninth time in 12 lifetime starts, improving her earnings to more than $392,000 for owner/breeder Pin Oak Stable.
"This was a stronger field than last time," said Von Hemel, referring to Bedanken's win in the Furl Sail Handicap in December. "It was beautiful watching her run down the stretch."
Bedanken won both the Valley View (gr. IIIT) and Honey Bee (gr. III) in 2002 before being sidelined.
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