Bank Sting grinds out La Verdad to kick off 2022

Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

Bank Sting collects her third stakes victory in Sunday’s La Verdad at Aqueduct. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Bank Sting barely missed a beat in 2021 – winning five of her six starts – and picked up where she left off Sunday at Aqueduct with a workmanlike victory in the $97,000 La Verdad Stakes.

Four weeks removed from a victory in the Staten Island division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes, Bank Sting started her 5-year-old campaign with a neck victory over Eloquent Speaker in the 7-furlong La Verdad as the heavy favorite. Sent to the post 1-5 against four other older New York-bred mares, Bank Sting and jockey Dylan Davis won in 1:25 for her sixth win in eight starts for owners Hidden Brook Farm and Joe and Anne McMahon.

Bred and foaled by the McMahons at their McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs, Bank Sting helped propel her sire, Central Banker, to the top of New York’s general sire list for the first time in 2021. She added another feature to the cap of the son of Speightstown, who will stand this year for $6,000 at McMahon of Saratoga.

“I was coming in here thinking that she was going to duplicate her last effort and today she had a challenge,” Davis said. “I liked what I saw. She was digging in and was able to find a little extra in that last sixteenth of a mile and give me what we needed for the win. She’s a nice filly and I see a lot more from her. I wish for continued success and I like what I see right now. She’s going to be competitive this year.”

Eloquent Speaker made the La Verdad much more competitive than the gamblers expected.

Bank Sting broke well from post 4 and took the lead early, just ahead of 6-1 third choice Eloquent Speaker and 6-1 second choice Letmetakethiscall. Eloquent Speaker and jockey Eric Cancel slipped through the inside to get on even terms with the favorite through the opening quarter in :23.01.

Bank Sting and Eloquent Speaker continued to battle through the half in :47.08. Eloquent Speaker, in receipt of six pounds from the favorite, cut the corner turning for home and opened up a half-length lead in upper stretch and held that advantage to the eighth pole before Davis and Bank Sting rallied inside the final furlong.

Eloquent Speaker, a $45,000 claim by owner and trainer Natalia Lynch Dec. 11 at Aqueduct and winner of an open-company allowance race six days later, held second and 9 ¾ lengths clear of third-place finisher Courageous Girl. Letmetakethiscall and Awillaway completed the order of finish.

The husband-wife team of John and Tonja Terranova teamed with Dylan Davis to win Sunday’s La Verdad with Bank Sting. NYRA Photo.

“The inside has been pretty good today and she [Lynch] has done well with [Eloquent Speaker] off the claim. You never know where one is going to come up from,” winning trainer John Terranova said. “We gave a little bit of weight, but I’m not going to make any excuses for her. I may have gone a little too easy on her in between races. Dylan thought maybe where she was, she didn’t quite dig in as much as she could have, so she had to work a little harder. I probably went a little too light on her in between races, but I’ll know better for next time. She does everything so well. She won her race pretty easy last time.”

Terranova said Bank Sting could venture out of the state-bred ranks and out of the Empire State for the first time in her next start in the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie Stakes Feb. 19 at Laurel Park. The $100,000 Biogio’s Rose at 1 mile March 6 at Aqueduct is another option for the mare.

“As long as she’s good and healthy, we’ll space her out and see what’s next,” Terranova said. “We’ll let her tell us and go from there. … We had thought about [the Barbara Fritchie] beforehand, too. I guess we’ll see how things unfold out of this race. She’ll be nominated and we’ll keep it in the back of our minds. We always have the New York-bred race in March if we need more time. We’ll see what the winter brings, we’ve been lucky with the weather.”

Bank Sting is the fifth foal – and one of two stakes performers and five winners overall – out of the stakes-placed New York-bred Precise End mare Bee in a Bonnet. She’s also the dam of Harlem Rocker’s Busanda Stakes-placed Liberty Island.

The McMahons bred Bee in a Bonnet to Central Banker multiple times since Bank Sting was born. Bee in a Bonnet is the of the winning 4-year-old Central Banker filly Lot of Honey and a newly turned unnamed 2-year-old by New York’s leading sire. Bee in a Bonnet is also the dam of a yearling colt by the late Laoban and was bred to McMahon’s Solomini last season.

Bank Sting earned $55,000 for her third stakes victory – along with the NYSS Staten Island and Critical Eye at Belmont Park last year – to boost her career bankroll to $406,300.

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