Bendable rallies in stretch to take Desert Stormer

Horse Racing

ARCADIA, Calif. — Bendable began her 4-year-old season with a comprehensive win in Sunday’s Grade 3 Desert Stormer Stakes at Santa Anita, her first victory in a graded stakes.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Bendable closed from third in a field of five to win by 1 1/2 lengths over 5-1 Coniah, who broke slowly. Pretty N Cool, the 4-5 favorite, led by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining, but faded in the final sixteenth.

Bendable ran six furlongs in 1:09.04. A filly by Horse Greeley, Bendable races for owner and breeder Claiborne Farms and trainer Richard Mandella.

“She’s a good little filly,” Mandella said. “She looked like a pro. She sat back and let them do the work.”

Invested Prospect set the pace for the opening quarter-mile in 21.96 seconds before being challenged by Pretty N Cool, who took the lead in early stretch.

Bendable was third on the turn and moved into second with a wide rally in the stretch.

Smith is perfect in two mounts on Bendable. He rode the filly to a win in the Beverly Lewis Stakes at Los Alamitos last September, Bendable’s first stakes win.

“She was so much more mature today and more relaxed,” Smith said. “She was aggressive leaving the gate, but turned right off. She waited for me to call on her and when I did, she really jumped into the bridle.”

Coniah, who rallied on the inside, finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Pretty N Cool, who was followed by Bellamentary and Invested Prospect.

Bendable was sidelined with a splint bone injury last fall after finishing third in the Grade 2 TCA Stakes at Keeneland in October, Mandella said. Bendable has won 4 of 6 starts and earned $212,000.

Mandella said Bendable will be considered for the Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs at Los Alamitos on July 8.

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