Whereshetoldmetogo narrow winner in Bender Meml.
Madaket Stables, Ten Strike Racing, Michael Kisber and BTR Racing Inc.’s Whereshetoldmetogo ran down pacesetter Youngest of Five and held off fellow multiple stakes winner Air Token’s rally to emerge from a three-way photo with a neck victory in Friday’s $100,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial at Laurel Park.
The outcome helped soothe the sting of two hours earlier when Whereshetoldmetogo’s younger Brittany Russell-trained stablemate, eight-time stakes-winning filly Hello Beautiful, ran last of five as the heavy favorite in the $75,000 Politely. Both races were restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses.
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It was the second straight and 10th career stakes victory for 6-year-old gelding Whereshetoldmetogo ($6.80), and sixth over his home course at Laurel. The winning time was 1:23.43 over a fast main track.
Jockey Jevian Toledo, who was aboard Hello Beautiful and also rode 2-year-old filly Gamestonks to a maiden victory for Russell in Race 2, kept Whereshetoldmetogo in the clear on the outside as Youngest of Five was sent to the lead from his far outside post and held it through splits of 23.80 and 46.73 seconds chased by graded-stakes placed Galerio and recent Maryland Million Sprint winner Air Token.
Whereshetoldmetogo began to gain ground around the turn and loomed a threat at the top of the stretch as Youngest of Five, racing along the rail, held a slim advantage after six furlongs in 1:10.75. Whereshetoldmetogo came with a steady drive down the middle of the track and was able to extend furthest at the end, with a determined Air Token between the top two.
“He relaxed really good in the beginning and I knew I had a ton of horse. Sometimes he switches leads and sometimes he doesn’t, but today he switched leads and as soon as he did that I said, ‘It’s over.’ He gave all 100 percent,” Toledo said.
Air Token was a nose behind runner-up Youngest of Five with Galerio another 1 ¼ lengths back in fourth. They were followed by Double Crown, Alwaysmining, Clubman and Plot the Dots.
Whereshetoldmetogo was racing for the first time at Laurel since the March 13 Not For Love, the last of three straight stakes wins following the Frank Whiteley and Dave’s Friend to end 2020. He hadn’t started since a neck victory in the Sept. 25 New Castle at Delaware Park, also with Toledo up.
“He’s really easy to ride. You can do anything with him. You can put him up close, you can sit back and he’s still going to give you the run no matter what,” Toledo said. “All the time he tries 100 percent.”
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.