04/30/2010 11:00PM

Bank the Eight barely hits wire first in Tesio


Bank the Eight outdueled Regal Warrior in the stretch to win Saturday's $70,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico by a nose.

The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds is a local prep for the Preakness Stakes in two weeks, but neither Bank the Eight nor Regal Warrior is nominated to the Triple Crown, so it would cost their connections $100,000 to add them as a late supplement.

Based at Philadelphia Park with trainer Tony Dutrow, Bank the Eight ($3.60) was ridden by Mario Pino for the first time. A son of Distorted Humor owned by Mercedes Stables, Bank the Eight was part of a three-horse stretch battle with pacesetter Noah's Dream and Regal Warrior. Noah's Dream tired in deep stretch to fade from contention, leaving Bank the Eight and Regal Warrior to go head to head.

Under jockey Julien Pimentel, Regal Warrior seemed poised to make a winning move on the outside, but Bank the Eight battled back and just reached the wire first, completing the nine furlongs in 1:52.11. London Lane finished third in the field of five.

"I thought I got beat," Pino said. "But he dug in the last 70 yards in a gutsy performance."

"That was a tough beat," Pimentel said. "It was pretty close. Mario congratulated me but I was pretty sure he won it."

It was the second straight victory for Bank the Eight, who is 3 for 6 lifetime.