Under confident handling by Travis Dunkelberger, heavy choice Bandbox cruised to victory in the $50,750 Private Terms Stakes for 3-year-olds at Laurel Park March 19 (VIDEO).
Sent to post as the 7-10 favorite, Hillwood Stable’s Bandbox tracked speedster Rush Now three wide into the lane before getting the lead approaching mid-stretch. He edged away to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:37.25 for the one mile distance.
Rush Now, ridden by Mario Pino, finished a clear second by five lengths while No Easy Answer and Malcolm Franklin nosed Tap Star for third.
The winner, a gray/roan colt by Tapit --Empty the Bases, by Grand Slam, paid $3.40.
Bandbox, who won the Charles Town Juvenile and Sleepy Hollow Stakes last year, was coming off a second by a neck as the 9-10 choice in the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Feb. 26.
Nominated to the Triple Crown, Bandox is trained by Rodney Jenkins.
“He definitely won’t go the (Kentucky) Derby (Presented by Yum! Brands, gr. I) unless Ms. (Ellen) Charles insists and I know she won’t,” said Jenkins. “She’s the best owner in the whole world. It’s great for her to have a horse like this. We’re not going to rule the Preakness (gr. I) out. The horse is doing good. We might give it a shot.”
New Dawn Thoroughbreds and Aron Yagoda bred the winner in New York.
“This horse is just really nice and basically the whole plan was to hold on and don’t get into any trouble,” said Dunkelberger.
Bandbox has won four of six starts in his career with one second and has earned $183,680.