Bending Strings Tuned Up for 'Margarita

(from Santa Anita Park notes)
Trainer Wally Dollase would just as soon forget Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. I) candidate Bending Strings' last effort of Nov. 24, when she was ninth by 28 lengths in the Fall City Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.

"The track was frozen," the trainer said of the surface at Churchill Downs for the 1 1/8-mile race. "Right out of the gate, she didn't want any part of it."

Ridden by Mark Guidry, who will accept the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award at Santa Anita on Sunday, Bending Strings was not persevered with in the most disappointing performance in her consistent career. Corey Nakatani has the call Saturday.

Dollase is looking forward to Saturday's Santa Margarita for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.

"She's doing really good now," Dollase said of the 5-year-old daughter of American Chance owned by John Gunther of Vancouver, BC. "She's sharp as a tack. If all goes well, we'd go to the Apple Blossom next."

The Apple Blossom (gr. I) is at Oaklawn Park on April 8.

Bending Strings has a 6-8-1 record from 25 starts with earnings of $833,385.

Bending Strings faces a tough field.

Probables for the race include
Dream of Summer, no rider, 120;
Star Parade, Martin Pedroza, 118;
Bending Strings, Corey Nakatani, 116;
Healthy Addiction, no rider, 116;
Hollywood Story, Garrett Gomez, 116;
Miss Terrible, no rider, 116;
Seafree, Victor Espinoza, 115; and
Play Ballado, Tyler Baze, 114.

Bob Baffert said La Brea (gr. I) winner Pussycat Doll is being freshened and would not make the race.