01/12/2013 4:43PM

Aqueduct: Lady Banks benefits from winning strategy in Ruthless

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Lady Banks, kept close to the pace by Eddie Castro, wins the Ruthless by two lengths.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - After watching the races earlier on Saturday’s card at Aqueduct, trainer James Lawrence and owner George Autry decided to change tactics with their 3-year-old filly Lady Banks for the $75,000 Ruthless Stakes.

Rather than have jockey Eddie Castro take back and make one run, Lawrence instructed Castro to keep Lady Banks close to the pace.

The moved worked, as Lady Banks chased the pace-setting Kiss the Lady from the outset, collared that rival inside the sixteenth pole, and drew clear for a two-length victory in the Ruthless at muddy Aqueduct.

Kiss the Lady, running back one week after finishing last in the Busanda Stakes, held second by two lengths over Railtown Girl. Little Rocket, Kimono, the 9-5 favorite, and My Kinda Party completed the order of finish.

“Right before the race George Autry and myself changed tactics and told [Castro] to put her up there a little closer than we planned,” Lawrence said. “Just sit off of it. The horses that were doing that were winning. You can do just about anything you want with this filly.”

The victory was the second from three starts for Lady Banks, a Canadian-bred daughter of Successful Appeal.
For Castro, the win was just the third from 79 mounts at Aqueduct during the inner-track meet.

Kiss the Lady, under Jose Ortiz, set fractions of 23.24 seconds and 47.00 chased by Little Rocket and a three-wide Lady Banks. Lady Banks moved into second at the five-sixteenths pole and was able to run down Kiss the Lady in deep stretch. Lady Banks covered the six furlongs in 1:12.14 and returned $7.80.

Lawrence said his ultimate goal with Lady Banks is the Kentucky Oaks and he plans to stretch her out in distance for her next start. While Lawrence isn’t sure what would be next for Lady Banks, he said he is interested in bringing Lady Banks back to New York for the Grade 2, $250,000 Gazelle at 1 1/8 miles on April 6. Prior to that, Laurel hosts the $150,000 Caesar’s Wish Stakes, a one-turn mile race on March 2.

* Earlier on the card, Ea, under Ramon Dominguez, galloped to a 6 3/4-length victory in the $73,500 Coyote Lakes Stakes over Charlie’s Quest. Ea, a 9-year-old gelding by Dynaformer trained by David Jacobson for Drawing Away Stable, covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:33.67 and returned $4.70 as the 6-5 favorite.