Two-year-old Bound by Destiny “knows how to win”

“It’s very difficult to win four in a row,” trainer Anthony Pecoraro said one day last week with a kind of rueful laugh. “It’s even more difficult to win five in a row. It just doesn’t normally happen.”

That’s where he finds himself with Bound by Destiny, though. The two-year-old Lord Nelson filly ran the table during the just-completed Delaware Park meet, winning all four of her starts. No other runner won more at the meet, and she was the only one of the five four-time winners to own a spotless ledger.

In fact, only two two-year-olds in the nation have more wins than Bound by Destiny.

Bound by Destiny began her Delaware sojourn with a 14-length win over waiver maiden claimers July 1 and ended it with a length-and-a-half score in the Small Wonder Stakes for Delaware certified fillies September 28. In between, she won the Blue Hen Stakes and an allowance contest.

“I didn’t want to run her [in the maiden claiming contest]. I was trying to run her in the maiden special weight,” Pecoraro said. “But none of those races were going, and when you’ve got a horse that’s ready to run, you run them.”

The good news: the waiver maiden race – Delaware certified horses are permitted to run without being exposed to getting claimed – was pretty much a free square.

“I told [owner Mark Esposito], I said, ‘Go wait in the [winner’s] circle because this filly will never get beat in here,’” the trainer remembered.

Esposito, who races as Black Cloud Racing Stable LLC, paid $22,000 for Bound by Destiny at last fall’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale. She’s earned $138,750 to date.

“She’s out of an Unbridled’s Song mare [the unraced Chorale],” Pecoraro said. “We like Unbridled’s Song mares – any Unbridled’s Song mare. She walks a little funny, but you never know.”

They sent Bound by Destiny to Florida to take her first steps towards being a racehorse. 

Bound by Destiny
Bound by Destiny won the Small Wonder Stakes at Delaware Park. Photo by

“The guys down there give me a gauge on who’s doing good, who’s not doing good, who’s going to be a slow horse, who’s going to be a later horse,” Pecoraro explained. “They always liked the gray filly [Bound by Destiny] because she did everything right.”

She followed up her first-out maiden win with a head win in an allowance contest. That’s the closest of her four outings to date and set her up nicely for her Blue Hen score.

“Now the allowance race, I really didn’t have her tight-tight, and she only won by a neck,” Pecoraro said.

She was quite a bit closer to tight-tight in the Blue Hen, though, and won that by 5 ¾ lengths over the Jamie Ness-trained Chickieness. Those two rivals ran one-two in the same order again in the Small Wonder, and though this time the margin was just 1 ½ lengths, they were five clear of the rest.

The Small Wonder effort was flattered when Chickieness returned to win the Maryland Million Lassie, rallying outside for a 1 ½-length score as the favorite. Those two are scheduled to renew acquaintances for the third time in Saturday’s $100,000 Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park.

Regular pilot Jeremy Rose will ride Bound by Destiny, who since her Small Wonder victory has posted five half-mile breezes, none especially fast. That’s by design.

“She’ll do anything I want,” Pecoraro said. “I just don’t lean on her.”

On Saturday, most likely for the last time of the season, Pecoraro will saddle the gray Lord Nelson filly with the funny walk and try to extend her career-starting win streak to five. She won’t be the most fancily bred of the fillies, and there’s a pretty good chance she won’t be the favorite.

But she will have the best record of any, and the reason for that is the reason her trainer will start the day with high hopes.

“She’s a very intelligent horse,” Pecoraro said. “She doesn’t get excited; she conserves all her energy for the race. And she knows how to win.”