ARCADIA, CA — Under the patient handling of Mike Smith, Claiborne Farm’s homebred Bendable overcame an eight-month layoff to take Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Desert Stormer by 1 1/2 lengths.
Trained by Richard Mandella, she got six furlongs in 1:09.04.
With northwestern invader Invested Prospect and favored Pretty N Cool winging up front, Smith sat a measured third heading into the far turn, stepped on the accelerator 3 furlongs from home, swung four-wide at the top of the lane, and rocketed by both the favorite and a fast-closing Coniah inside the 1/16 pole to win going away.
“She’s matured a whole lot,” said Smith, who guided Bendable to an ungraded sprint stakes win two starts back on September 11. “She was aggressive leaving the gate but turned right off. She waited for me to call on her, and when I did, man, she really jumped into the bridle.
“Mr. Mandella had her ready. He’s done a tremendous job getting her back off the layoff. I’ve come out to work her a couple times, and her works were just better and better, and I knew from her last work that she’d run big today.”
A Kentucky-bred 4-year-old filly by Horse Greeley out of the Arch mare Bend, Bendable is now 6-4-1-1. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $212,000 in her first graded stakes win.
Ridden by Kent Desormeax, Coniah, the lone California-bred in the lineup, appeared to stumble shortly after leaving the gate. Relegated to last down the backside, she saved every inch of ground and appeared to possibly hit the front momentarily 1/16 out, but she was no match for the winner. She finished second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Pretty N Cool.
“She slipped leaving the gate,” said Desormeaux. “She broke so hard, the ground broke away. She ran her eyeballs out. She showed a new dimension today.”
Off at 4-5 with Martin Garcia up, Pretty N Cool had no apparent excuses and finished third, 2 1/2 lengths clear of Bellamentary, who never factored on the day, and Invested Prospect.
Fractions on the race were :21.96, :44.80, and :56.72.
Bendable returned $8, $4.40, and $2.60. Coniah brought back $5.80 and $2.60, while Pretty N Cool paid $2.10 to show.
Santa Anita Park