Bank Sting (burgundy cap outside) under Dylan Davis duels with #1 Eloquent Speaker piloted by Eric Cancel. (Chelsea Durand).
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Hidden Brook Farm and Joseph and Anne McMahon’s Bank Sting cashed in and secured her third career stakes win with a gutsy performance in Sunday’s $100,000 La Verdad, a seven-furlong sprint for New York-bred fillies and mares 4-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by John Terranova and piloted by Dylan Davis, the 5-year-old Central Banker bay was all out down the lane to reel in a stubborn Eloquent Speaker to win by a neck, stopping the clock in 1:25 flat over the muddy and sealed main track.
“I thought she was going to level off there a little bit, but I know she has a lot of gameness in her and she really reaches when she needs to,” Terranova said. “She’s a good filly and can overcome biases and whatnot. She handles an off track.”
Sent to post as the 1-5 mutuel favorite, Bank Sting broke alertly from Post 4 with Letmetakethiscall pressuring to her outside through an opening quarter-mile in 23.01 seconds. Eloquent Speaker, with Eric Cancel up from the inside post, was in hand on the rail early but surged into even terms with Bank Sting approaching the turn through a half-mile 47.08.
Eloquent Speaker established a narrow lead at the top of the lane but Bank Sting, traveling several paths outside of Eloquent Speaker, responded to left-handed encouragement from Davis and kicked into gear inside the final sixteenth to post a narrow victory. Courageous Girl finished a further 9 3/4-lengths back in third with Letmetakethiscall and Awillaway rounding out the order of finish.
Bank Sting won 5-of-6 starts last year, posting wins in the one-mile Critical Eye over muddy going in May at Belmont Park and a romping 8 1/4-length score last out in the seven-furlong NYSSS Staten Island on December 5 over a fast Big A main track.
The talented filly’s schedule was disrupted after being scratched at the gate in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth on July 17 with her only loss last year coming after a five-month layoff, finishing fifth going 1 1/16-miles in the Empire Distaff at Belmont over a sloppy and sealed main track on October 30.
Terranova said Bank Sting [124 pounds] fought on gamely to best Eloquent Speaker, who carried six pounds less.
“We gave a little bit of weight, but I’m not going to make any excuses for her. I may have gone a little too easy on her in between races,” Terranova said. “Dylan thought maybe where she was, she didn’t quite dig in as much as she could have, so she had to work a little harder. I probably went a little too light on her in between races, but I’ll know better for next time. She does everything so well. She won her race pretty easy last time.”
Davis said he was impressed by Bank Sting’s desire to win the stretch battle after an open-lengths romp last out.
“That [close finish] wasn’t expected, but I think the track had a lot to do with it,” said Davis, who won the La Verdad last year with Mrs. Orb. “Comparing her from her last effort to today, she just had a little difficulty getting over it. I think her best suit is more of a drier track. I was coming in here thinking that she was going to duplicate her last effort and today she had a challenge. I liked what I saw. She was digging in and was able to find a little extra in that last sixteenth of a mile and give me what we needed for the win.”
Cancel was full of praise for Eloquent Speaker, a recent $45,000 claim for owner-trainer Natalia Lynch, who entered from an open allowance win on December 17 at the Big A.
“My filly ran huge. Putting aside she ran a few weeks ago, the filly just kept on grinding and grinding,” Cancel said. “She got beat by the best filly at the moment right now. For her to put up this effort, I was very happy.
“She’s a pretty competitive filly,” Cancel added. “She likes to feel horses close to her. Once she angled away a little bit, she kind of waited for the other horse. That got to her, but I’m still happy with the way she ran.”
Terranova said Bank Sting could now target the $100,000 Biogio’s Rose, a one-turn mile for older New York-bred fillies and mares on March 6 at the Big A; or the Grade 3, $250,000 Barbara Fritchie, a seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up on February 19 at Laurel Park.
“We had thought about that [the Barbara Fritchie] beforehand, too. I guess we’ll see how things unfold out of this race,” Terranova said. “She’ll be nominated and we’ll keep it in the back of our minds. We always have the New York-bred race in March if we need more time. We’ll see what the winter brings, we’ve been lucky with the weather.”
Bred in the Empire State by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, Bank Sting, out of the Precise End mare Bee in a Bonnet, banked $55,000 in victory while improving her record to six wins from eight starts. She paid $2.40 for a $2 win bet.
Live racing resumes Thursday at the Big A with an eight-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the winter meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
By Keith McCalmont/NYRA Press Office