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Lady Banks Becomes Stakes Winner

Lady Banks became a stakes winner on Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack, charging past pacesetter Kiss the Lady in the stretch and onto a two-length victory in the 36th running of the $75,000 Ruthless for 3-year-old fillies.

 

It was the second straight win for the Canadian-bred daughter of Successful Appeal, who finished second after a wide trip in her November debut at the Big A and returned the following month to break her maiden, coming from just off the pace to win by a half-length.

 

Saturday, jockey Eddie Castro kept Lady Banks close up in third behind Kiss the Lady as she led through an opening quarter-mile in 23.24 seconds. Ranging up on the turn, Castro moved Lady Banks to within striking distance and the filly responded with a determined late run to catch the pacesetter inside the sixteenth pole and pull clear to the wire.

 

She completed the six furlongs in 1:12.14 over a muddy inner track.

 

“Right before the race, [owner] George Autry and myself changed tactics,” said trainer James Lawrence, II. “We told him to put her up there just off it, a little closer than we planned originally. You can do anything you want to with this filly. I told him not to push the button until the very end. She did it. What a nice filly! I knew we had a nice filly before she ran; that’s why we’re here in New York.”

 

Sent off as the 5-2 third choice, Lady Banks returned $7.80 for a $2 win bet. With the winner’s purse of $45,000, she has now amassed $94,600.

 

Railtown Girl closed to finish third, two lengths behind Kiss the Lady, with Little Rocket, favored Kimono and My Kinda Party completing the order of finish.

 

Lawrence said he and the filly’s owners had not decided on Lady Banks’ next race, but said the Kentucky Oaks on May 3 at Churchill Downs has been a long-term goal.

 

“We’re going to try and space her races out a little bit now,” said Lawrence of Lady Banks, who was purchased for $130,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sales last March. “I come from a steeplechase background so I’m always thinking about stretching them out. We’ll definitely give her a try at that. When we picked her out, the long-term plan was the Oaks. [Leading into that] the Gazelle [Grade 2, 1 1/8 miles, April 6, Aqueduct] is a very good option.”

 

 

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