No Guts No Glory Farm's Anna's Bandit got nothing handed to her by her eight rivals Saturday at Laurel Park. Sent to post as the 1-2 favorite, the multiple stakes-winning mare had to earn her 3 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff.
Anna's Bandit pulled off a rare feat in the seven-furlong stakes for Maryland-sired fillies and mares, which was one of 11 stakes worth $1.02 million in purses on Saturday's 12-race program. The 5-year-old daughter of Great Notion scored her second stakes victory in a week's time Saturday, having captured the West Virginia Cavada Breeders' Stakes at Charles Town Oct. 12.
Anna's Bandit finished third in last year's Distaff after finishing third at Charles Town a week before.
“If you're a 'sheets' person, last year, she ran an 8 at Charles Town and a 5 a week later here. She probably did it again today. I bet she ran a 3 today,” said trainer John 'Jerry' Robb, who reported that Anna's Bandit had gained 50 pounds between starts.
Anna's Bandit broke from the No. 1 post position and was outsprinted for the early lead by Friend Me Charlie and Conjecture, who vied for supremacy past fractions of 23.24 and 46.25 seconds for the first half mile. Jockey Xavier Perez tracked the leaders while saving ground along the backstretch but was shuffled back a little bit on the far turn while lacking racing room. Leaving the turn into the homestretch, Perez eased his mount to the outside to pass the tiring pacesetter before dropping back to the rail in pursuit of Conjecture in the stretch. Anna's Bandit exerted her class during the last eighth of a mile and drew off to her ninth win in 11 starts this year and 15th victory in 31 career races.
“We just ran last Saturday so I knew she was going to be sharp. Jerry told me because we had the one-hole just to break sharp and try to stay in contention the whole way around, and that's what I did,” Perez said. “I pushed her a little early to try to sneak inside [Friend Me Charlie], and right there they started running so I was in a perfect stalking position. At the quarter pole, I got between two horses and I knew [Conjecture] was going to take off running, and I just followed the pack. When she saw a seam down the stretch she just fired on like she always does.”
Anna's Bandit, who ran her career earnings to more than $650,000, covered seven furlongs in 1:23.03.
“You never like the one hole. He had to use her to get position and they shut her off a little bit. She had to make a hole, but she does what it takes,” Robb said. “It's her, not me.”
Conjecture finished second, 3 ¾ lengths ahead of Cee Bee Gee Bee.
Robb reported that Anna's Bandit would likely race again next year.
“I'm hoping to pull another double next year,” Robb said.
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