Bending Strings Favored to Snap Losing String

(from Churchill Downs report)
John Gunther's Bending Strings has failed to win in seven races in 2005, but the company the 4-year-old filly has kept has made her a solid 9-5 favorite in Sunday's $150,000-added Chilukki (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.

The daughter of American Chance, trained by Wally Dollase and ridden by Robby Albarado, heads a field of 11 fillies and mares in the one-mile race that was formerly known as the Churchill Downs Distaff. The name of the race was changed to honor Stonerside Stable's brilliant filly that set a track record for the distance in winning the race's 2000 renewal for trainer Bob Baffert.

Bending Strings is coming off a fourth-place finish in the $500,000 Spinster (gr. I) at Keeneland, an effort that looks significantly better in the aftermath of the romp by Spinster runner-up Pleasant Home in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

Prior to that outing the Gunther homebred finished fourth to Stellar Jayne in the Ruffian (gr. I) at Belmont Park and second to Ashado in the Go for Wand (gr. I) at Saratoga.

She has a record of 5-8-1 in 23 races and has earned $728,388, but she will be looking to snap a string of nine consecutive losses dating to her victory in the First Flight Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct more than a year ago.

Major competition for Bending Strings could come from William Pacella, Joseph Rizza and Ronald Schwed's My Ro. The 5-year-old Dixieland Band mare won the Lazer Show overnight handicap at Churchill Downs for trainer Dale Romans in July and is unbeaten in three races at Churchill. Mike Smith will ride My Ro, who has been installed as the 7-2 second pick.

Other contenders include Charles D. Miller's Prospective Saint, winner of the Shocker T Handicap at Calder for trainer Martin Wolfson and sizzling jockey Eddie Castro; Brenda and Phillip Robertson's Savorthetime, a troubled third behind Reunited in the Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. III) at Keeneland; and Lynn Stables' Miss Fortunate, the Bill Mott-trained winner of the Turfway Park Breeders' Cup (gr. III).

$150,000-added Chilukki (gr. II), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 mile
PP. Horse (weight) Jockey, ML Odds
1. My Ro (121) Mike Smith, 7/2
2. Journey Fever (119) John McKee, 20/1
3. Prospective Saint (121) Eddie Castro, 6/1
4. Bending Strings (117) Robby Albarado, 9/5
5. Tempus Fugit (121) Jesus Castanon, 10/1
6. Savorthetime (121) Shaun Bridgmohan, 6/1
7. Plumlake Lady (121) Orlando Mojica, 30/1
8. Miss Fortunate (121) Larry Melancon, 6/1
9. Beautiful Bets (117) , Rafael Bejarano, 12/1
10. Kristy Beethoven (119) Corey Lanerie, 50/1
11. Tappin for Gold (119) Mark Guidry, 15/1