10/23/2010 5:32PM

Bandbox overcomes himself to win Sleepy Hollow

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Bandbox pulls away in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Bandbox stumbled at the start and drifted out at the finish, but he performed well enough in between to cruise to a 1 1/4-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Sleepy Hollow Stakes for New York-bred juvenile males at Belmont Park.

Luxury Appeal, who raced in fourth position early, got up for second by 1 1/4 lengths over Crea’s Law. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Never Right Joey, who was followed in the order of finish by Bambi Bound, Private Rules, Bound by Humor, Hysterical Cat, and Our Brave Warrior.

It was the third win in as many starts for Bandbox, a son of Tapit trained by Rodney Jenkins who won his debut on turf at Laurel before taking the Charles Town Juvenile on dirt going two turns. The Sleepy Hollow had the deepest field Bandbox had faced and he was up to the task.

Bandbox did stumble coming out of the gate and was last briefly before moving into seventh early on in the nine-horse field. Our Brave Warrior set the pace, running a quarter in 23.19 seconds and a half-mile in 46.84 while being chased by Hysterical Cat and Bambi Bound.

Bandbox made a three-wide move around the far turn and came even wider into the stretch as he was, according to Dominguez, shying away from horses. Dominguez was able to get him straightened away in upper stretch, before collaring Bambi Bound inside the eighth pole and bounding clear for the victory.

Bandbox, owned by Ellen Charles’ Hillwood Stable, covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.66 and returned $3.30 as the favorite.

Dominguez said he was impressed with how Bandbox recovered from the early stumble and relaxed underneath him.

“As soon as he came back up he was very relaxed for me, on the bridle, I always felt like I had a lot of horse,” Dominguez said. “When I chose to go around horses - feeling like I had much the best - it was right around the turn and he started to shy from them pretty good. The horse in front was kind of coming out which didn’t help but once I was able to get ahead of them he relaxed for me, his ears come forward and he did it pretty nicely.”

Jenkins, who had previously been 0 for 7 in stakes races at Belmont Park, watched the race from Delaware Park and was pleased with how his colt relaxed, and noted that the horse is still immature.

“I thought he run good for a colt as green as he is,” Jenkins said. “He’s got to grow up; but he’s a big, tall gangly horse. I really like him.”
Jenkins said if Bandbox comes out of the race in good order, he would consider running him in the $1 million Delta Jackpot on Nov. 20.