Bank Sting winning the Dancin Renee June 26 at Belmont. Photo by Adam Coglianese
Freedom Trail Slated for Stakes Debut in $120K Awad
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Reigning New York-bred Champion Older Mare Bank Sting will emerge off a four-month layoff to take on a field that includes four other last-out winners in Sunday’s $150,000 Iroquois for New York-bred fillies and mares 3-years-olds and upward going 6 1/2 furlongs on the Big A main track.
The 44th Iroquois is one of eight stakes races for New York-breds worth a cumulative $1.6 million on Empire Showcase Day, to be run on Closing Day of the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
Trained by John Terranova, Bank Sting has not raced since a triumph in the Dancin Renee on June 26 at Belmont Park, defeating fellow New York-bred stakes winners The Important One and Kept Waiting by 5 1/2 lengths under return pilot Joel Rosario. The 5-year-old daughter of perennial New York leading sire Central Banker appeared to not care much for the main track at Saratoga, according to Terranova, who said he opted to wait until the fall to give her another start.
“We took her up there and she just wasn’t training the right way,” Terranova said. “The track was very demanding, and she just didn’t like it. She’s always been a horse that’s had sensitive feet at times, but she’s been good throughout her career. Up there, things just weren’t right. It was more of a case of her not caring for the track. She would have one good breeze, then a so-so one, then another good one and then another so-so one. This actually has been the first year we sent her up there and pretty much from the get-go, she didn’t care for it.”
Victories in last year’s Critical Eye at Belmont Park and NYSSS Staten Island at Aqueduct earned Bank Sting New York championship honors for her 4-year-old campaign, which saw her garner five wins in six starts. This year, she has expanded on her stakes conquests, capturing the La Verdad on January 2 as well as the open company Heavenly Prize Invitational on March 6, both at Aqueduct.
“She breezing really well and we’re excited to see her back. It should be a competitive race,” Terranova said.
Bank Sting will have her work cut out for her in Sunday’s engagement, where she will square off with 2021 New York Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Venti Valentine as well as dual Finger Lakes stakes winner Gone and Forgotten and Mosienko, who streaks into the Iroquois off four straight victories.
Bank Sting, owned by breeders Joseph G. and Anne McMahon and Hidden Brook Farm, is out of the Precise End mare Bee in a Bonnet. She boasts a bankroll of $582,050.
Terranova will be seeking a stakes double on Belmont at the Big A closing weekend when he saddles Freedom Trail for Saturday’s $120,000 Awad for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf.
The son of freshman sire Collected, owned by Gatsas Stables, R.A. Hill Stables and Steven Schoenfeld, was a 13-1 upset winner of his last-out career debut going the Awad distance on September 25 over the Big A outer turf.
“We thought he could run. We had some expectations that he could run, he was just kind of an immature 2-year-old colt early on,” Terranova said. “Going into the race he had been doing everything right going into the race and it was time to get him started. It was a big run, he was wide and I was pleased he got up. We had seen glimpses of good stuff from him this summer.”
In his maiden coup, Freedom Trail went from sixth-to-first in the last two points of call to win by a head. Terranova said it’s still too early to tell if making one big run will be the bay colt’s running style.
“It was his first start so you can never say for sure,” Terranova said. “He’s still young and unseasoned so we’ll see how he develops over the next few races. Going into Saturday, he’s doing really well.”
Freedom Trail was a $150,000 purchase at the OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, where he was consigned by Wavertree Stables. He is out of the War Front mare Freedom, whose dam Refugee also produced Grade 1-winners Executiveprivilege and Hoppertunity.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pick up the mount from post 4 as the 3-1 morning line second choice.
Terranova also reported on graded stakes winner Midnight Stroll, who added more black type to her pedigree when third in the Grade 2 Raven Run last Saturday at Keeneland. He said the daughter of leading third crop sire Not This Time is still Kentucky with no set plans for her next start. Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies aspirant You’re My Girl, second in the Grade 1 Frizette, is also at Keeneland.
Terranova added that Curragh Stables’ Fluid Situation, who defeated winners at 23-1 odds going six furlongs on October 16 over good turf at Aqueduct, could try stakes action in Florida sometime this winter.
“The turf gets a little soft here this time of year,” Terranova said. “He will come to Florida this winter with me when I go to Tampa in a few weeks with some. I’m not sure where we’ll run him. It could be here, but it could be down in Florida.”