Mon, 07/15/2019 - 12:13

Third in the Secretariat Stakes (G1T) in August, Calumet Farm's Bandua returned to Arlington International Racecourse July 13 and captured the $150,000 Arlington Handicap (G3T), his first stakes victory, in course-record time.

The victory was the first of two stakes wins for jockey Adam Beschizza on Million Preview Day, which offered three local preps for next month's grade 1 action.

"He's a straightforward horse, he's never shown a loss of heart, and the class relief today helped him a lot," said Beschizza, who's ridden Bandua in six of eight American races, including a runner-up effort in the Feb. 16 Fair Grounds Handicap (G3T).

In the Arlington Handicap, a 1 3/16-mile test ahead of the Aug. 10 Arlington Million (G1T), Beschizza settled Bandua in second behind Chilean champion El Picaro. The leader got up to a two-length advantage as he set opening fractions of :23.27, :47.80, and 1:11.81 but was running out of energy as the turn for home approached.

Beschizza found plenty of room outside of the fading El Picaro, had The Factor colt's head in front for a 1:35.80 mile, then sped home to hit the wire in 1:53.16 on firm going. Two Beverly D. Stakes (G1T) winners previously held the fastest time. Dank completed the distance in 1:53.38 in 2013, and Reluctant Guest was timed in 1:53 1/5 in 1990 when fractions were used.

"Every race we've ran him in we've had a lot of confidence in him," said winning trainer Jack Sisterson, who trains privately for Calumet. "This horse was training unbelievably. He deserves this win.

"I said, 'Adam, you ride him like you own him,' and that's what he did," Sisterson added. "It was a picture-perfect ride."

Finishing second, 1 3/4 lengths behind 8-5 favorite Bandua, was The Great Day, followed by Captivating Moon in third.

Bred in Kentucky by Judy Hicks and Kathryn Nikkel, Bandua was the second-to-last foal out of the Seattle Slew mare If Angels Sang. His dam also produced Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap winner (G2T) Tale of a Champion, Eddie D Stakes (G3T) winner Mr. Roary, and Ilusora, a dual Grade 3 winner on dirt in Argentina.

Calumet went to $150,000 to purchase Bandua as a weanling from the Gainesway consignment at the 2015 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. He ran his first four races in Ireland under trainer Dermot Weld, who conditioned Bandua to a third-place effort in the Secretariat Stakes. The gray/roan colt has been with Sisterson since last fall.

Bandua now has a 3-1-1 record from 12 starts and $251,868 in earnings.

SOURCE: BloodHorse 7/13/19