Bending Strings, with jockey Jerry Bailey aboard, captures the Nassau County Breeders' Cup, Saturday at Belmont.

Bending Strings, with jockey Jerry Bailey aboard, captures the Nassau County Breeders' Cup, Saturday at Belmont.

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Bending Strings Wraps Up Nassau County

John D. Gunther's Bending Strings relished a cutback to the seven-furlong distance of the $195,000 Nassau County Breeders' Cup (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies, drawing away for her first graded stakes victory by 4 3/4 lengths at Belmont Park Saturday.

Jerry Bailey rode the dark bay Kentucky homebred filly by American Chance for the first time in her eight-race career. Third while racing in hand, she rallied three wide on the turn, taking the lead when roused and drawing away under continued urging from Bailey. The time was 1:22 3/5.

Bending Strings was coming off a second-place finish in the one-mile Comely (gr. III) at Aqueduct April 9 when she took the lead under Mike Luzzi but could not hold off the charge of Society Selection.

There were no such dangers Saturday. Grey Traffic, the 8-5 favorite in the field of six with Edgar Prado aboard, settled for second, four lengths in front of 21-1 A Lulu Ofa Menifee and Joey Bravo in the strung out finish.

Cherry Bomb set the early pace, going :22 2/5 and :45 1/5 before fading to fifth as the 2-1 second choice.

Kiaran McLaughlin trains Bending Strings, who is from the dam Straight South, by Hail the Pirates.

She improved to 3-3-0 in eight career tries while picking up the winning purse of $120,000. She has earned $205,550 in her career.

The third choice paid $7.70, $3.90 and $3.20. Grey Traffic returned $3.60 and $3.30. A Lulu Ofa Menifee's show was $6.70. The exacta was worth $26.40.

Delta Sensation, Cherry Bomb and Whirlwind Charlott completed the order of finish. Forestier, Slewville and Frenchglen scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)