Hidden Brook Farm and Joseph and Anne McMahon’s Bank Sting made her open company debut a winning one in Sunday’s $125,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational, a one-mile test for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Bred in New York by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, Bank Sting earned $68,750 for her victory to boost her total purse earnings to $475,050 and improve her record to 9-7-0-0. She is also a graduate of the famed Hidden Brook Florida training center.
Trained by John Terranova and ridden by regular pilot Dylan Davis, Bank Sting earned her third consecutive stakes win at the Big A after grinding out a neck victory last time out in the La Verdad on January 2.
Maiden Beauty, a last-out winner of the Bay Ridge, broke alertly under Kendrick Carmouche from post 4 to lead the field of five through an opening quarter-mile in 24.18 seconds and a half-mile in 47.92. Battle Bling traveled a length behind in second over the fast main track while Sharp Starr and Truth Hurts battled for third.
Bank Sting, who was guided to the outside of Maiden Beauty at the top of the stretch, continued to improve position under encouragement from Davis as Maiden Beauty toiled at the front and began to fade down the lane.
The bay daughter of Central Banker took the lead at the sixteenth pole but was met with a challenge from Ladies winner Battle Bling, who cruised down the center of the racetrack under Trevor McCarthy to make her bid for the lead. Bank Sting drifted out but dug in gamely to fend off her new foe, reaching the wire a neck in front in a final time of 1:39.51 to secure her fourth career stakes win.
Maiden Beauty kept on to secure show honors while the late-closing Sharp Starr rallied to round out the superfecta. Truth Hurts completed the order of finish.
“She’s a great ride. She’s gutsy and she has a lot of heart,” said Davis, who earned his sixth stakes win of the winter meet. “For a second, I thought the other horse [Battle Bling] was going to overlap her but she was able to re-engage. She’s smart – she had a little left in the tank and was able to get to the wire first.”
Davis, a perfect 3-for-3 aboard Bank Sting, said his mount took some time to find her best stride.
“She didn’t come out the best and it took her two or three jumps to get into a stride and find her rhythm,” said Davis. “By that time, Kendrick [Carmouche] was able to take over to the lead, but I was happy laying second. She was very comfortable in that position.”
Tonja Terranova, wife and assistant to John Terranova, was full of praise for Bank Sting, who is now the 10th-highest all-time earning horse for her conditioner.
“She’s just determined. This filly doesn’t want to get beat and she keeps seeming to find more,” Terranova said. “I think we went a little too easy on her going into her last race, but we stuck it to her going into here to make sure she was fit. The track has been demanding on them. She’s awesome. We’ll see what’s in store for her the next time.”
Joe McMahon, who bred the mare and stands her sire, Central Banker, at his Saratoga Springs farm, shared Terranova’s pride in Bank Sting’s determination.
“She’s a pleasure. She’s got seven wins in nine starts. That’s remarkable,” said McMahon. “In the stretch, she really dug in. It looked like the other horse was going to go by, but Dylan said she dug right in as soon as she saw her.
“Last time, she was in the worst part of the racetrack,” McMahon added. “She was way out there and the rail was very live that day. That was a tough race, tougher than this race. She has a lot of run and it’s great for Central Banker. We’re lucky to have her.”
The 5-year-old mare has compiled a consistent record, breaking her maiden at second asking going seven furlongs at Aqueduct to launch a four-race win streak that was capped by a win in the Critical Eye last May. Bank Sting’s only defeat at the Big A came with a fourth-place effort when she contested stakes company at first asking in the 2019 NYSSS Fifth Avenue.
-edited from www.nyra.com