Seven’s Eleven Goes the Distance in $75,000 Bender Memorial

Seven’s Eleven Goes the Distance in $75,000 Bender Memorial

Intrepid Daydream Makes It Four Straight in $75,000 Politely

LAUREL, MD – The Cottonwood Stable’s homebred Seven’s Eleven, beaten as the favorite in his prior start, bounced back by powering to a popular 2 ¾-length triumph in Friday’s $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial at Laurel Park.

The seven-furlong Bender for 3-year-olds and up and $75,000 Politely for fillies and mares 3 and older sprinting six furlongs, both restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses, were the first two of five stakes worth $450,000 over Thanksgiving weekend.

Stakes action continues Saturday with three $100,000 events – the 1 1/8-mile Richard W. Small for 3-year-olds and up, City of Laurel for 3-year-olds and Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies, each going seven furlongs.

Ridden by Angel Cruz for trainer Carlos Mancilla Jr., 3-year-old gelding Seven’s Eleven ($6.60) completed the distance in 1:23.34 over a fast main track for his fifth win from nine starts this year and second in a Laurel stakes following the six-furlong Maryland Million Sprint Oct. 14.

“He’s a nice horse. In the mornings he’s nice to gallop and in the afternoon he’s even better,” Cruz said. “He’s easy to ride and Carlos said, ‘Just do whatever you want. You know him.’ He did all the work.”

Cruz sent Seven’s Eleven to the lead from their rail post and went the opening quarter-mile in 22.91 seconds flanked on his right by 35-1 long shot Tenax with Sagamore Mischief in third and two-time Maryland-bred champion Joe, making his first start since mid-June racing between horses in the next flight.

Seven’s Eleven was still in command after going a half-mile in 46.11 seconds as Grade 3 winner Double Crown made a strong move up the rail and Holy Synchronicity swept up on the outside to get into contention. Cruz set Seven’s Eleven down for a drive once straightened for home and had plenty left to turn back Double Crown late, improving to 4-0 at seven furlongs.

Double Crown was 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Star de Naskra winner Super Accelerate in third with Holy Synchronicity another 1 ¼ lengths back in fourth. Joe, Sagamore Mischief, Coffeewithchris, Tenax and Hello Hot Rod completed the order of finish.

“I wasn’t concerned. I know he’s versatile. He can go from off the pace or on the lead. This is his distance. Seven furlongs is good for Seven’s Eleven. I knew we had it at the top of the stretch,” Cruz said. “Every time the other horse was by me I had so much horse, I just waited until the top of the stretch.”

Late longtime owner-breeders Howard and Sondra Bender were fixtures at Maryland racetracks for nearly four decades. Among their more than 500 winners were graded-stakes winners Secret River, Foufa’s Warrior, Promenade Girl, Green Darlin, London Lane and La Reine’s Terms.

Intrepid Daydream Makes It Four Straight in $75,000 Politely

Paul Fowler Jr.’s 4-year-old homebred filly Intrepid Daydream wrested the lead from pacesetting Response Time at the top of the stretch and opened up through the lane to extend her win streak to four races with a 5 ¼-length victory in the $75,000 Politely.

It was the third win of the day for jockey Jevian Toledo, coming in 1:10.85 over a fast main track, and the third stakes win for Intrepid Daydream following the Shine Again Sept. 16 at historic Pimlico Race Course and last month’s Maryland Million Distaff at Laurel.

Response Time, beaten three lengths when second to Intrepid Daydream in the Distaff, was hustled to the lead by jockey Jerion Barbosa from their rail post. Toledo and Intrepid Daydream, who broke alongside, pressed two wide through a quarter-mile in 22.70 seconds before taking over the top spot leaving the far turn after the half went in 46.07.

“I was just hoping she would have plenty to keep going, and she did,” Fowler said. “Thank God.”

Toledo dropped Intrepid Daydream ($2.40) down to the inside once clear and she went on to register her seventh career win from 13 starts. Response Time was second, four lengths ahead of Utterly Enchanting, followed by Canoodle, Malibu Beauty and Moonboots.

Intrepid Daydream was entered but scratched from the 1 1/16-mile Thirty Eight Go Go Nov. 11 at Laurel to await the Politely. She improved to 3-0 lifetime against fellow Maryland-breds.

Bred and raced by Mrs. Richard du Pont, Politely won 13 stakes and placed in eight others from age 2 to 5, setting an Atlantic City track record in the 1967 Matchmaker and matching it the following year. Retired following the 1968 season, she won 21 of 49 career starts and was a member of the inaugural Maryland-bred Thoroughbred Hall of Fame Class of 2013.