Patiently rated at the back of the pack, Bending Strings bounded into action around the far turn, forced her way between rivals a furlong from home and drew off to win Saturday's $143,000 Safely Kept Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico.Under jockey Horacio Karamanos, the American Chance offspring covered the six furlongs in 1:10.11 and paid $9.80, $3.60 and $2.80 as the third choice in a field of six sprinters. Even-money favorite Smokey Glacken ($2.40, $2.20) led the pack until collared by the winner at the furlong pole and finished 2 1/4 lengths back in second. Then She Laughs ($3.00) was a half-length further back in third."When I asked her at the quarter pole she gave me some good acceleration, she pulled out in the stretch and she flew in the last part," Karamanos said.Kiaran McLaughlin trains Bending Strings for owner John D. Gunther, who won $90,000. She has raced exclusively in stakes races this year, winning the Nassau County Breeders' Cup and placing in three others. Nine of her 10 starts this year have been against graded company. Karamanos picked up the mount Saturday and said he spent the morning watching the last four races by the filly, all grade I efforts, including a second place finish in the Test (gr. I) at Saratoga."I thought she could win this," said Karamanos. "What I saw was that this horse is always coming from the outside."Morning line favorite Gilded Gold finished next to last at 2-1. The Tom Amoss trainee sat off the leaders early but was five wide down the stretch and finished 6 ¾ lengths behind the winner.
"No excuses," said Ryan Fogelsonger, who teamed with Amoss to win this race two years ago aboard Miss Lodi. "She had nothing in the tank." (Chart, Equibase)