04/14/2004 11:00PM

Bedanken in habit of winning


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Rare is the horse who wins more than she loses, but that is the case with Bedanken, who is seeking her fourth straight win over 17 months Saturday in the $75,000 Irving Distaff at Lone Star Park.

A 7 1/2-furlong turf race for fillies and mares, the Irving Distaff also drew defending champ Cherylville Slew and Janeian, who set a course record when she won the $150,000 Indian Maid Breeders' Cup Handicap last year at Hawthorne Race Course.

Bedanken, who has won 9 of 12 career starts, began her current win streak in November 2002 with a seven-length romp in the $100,000 Pago Hop at Fair Grounds.

She returned to action a year later and won the $60,000 Furl Sail, also at Fair Grounds, before taking the track's Grade 3, $125,000 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap on turf in her last start Feb. 28.

Bedanken can stalk or come from far back.

"She's gotten quite professional in her races," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Bedanken. "She rates well and responds when asked. There are a lot of positives for her."

Considered one of the top turf mares in the Midwest, Bedanken had been under consideration for stakes in Kentucky this spring, but her connections opted for the Irving Distaff. The race is the local stepping-stone to the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Distaff at Lone Star on May 31.

"We can run in one place twice without having to move around, and we just thought that was the way to go," said Von Hemel.

Don Pettinger will ride Bedanken, a 5-year-old daughter of Geri who races for her breeder, Pin Oak Stable. Bedanken has earned $392,074.

Janeian, who was bred in New Zealand, will be making her first start since November, when she finished seventh to Riskaverse in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Before that race, Janeian was a 2 1/4-length winner of the Indian Maid, covering 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:39.86, a course record. The old mark was 1:40.40. Eddie Martin Jr. will ride Janeian for Greg England and trainer Bret Calhoun.

Southern Surprise moves back to turf for the Irving. Trainer Morris Nicks said one of the reasons he has been pointing Southern Surprise for the race is its distance. The one other time Southern Surprise ran at 7 1/2 furlongs she won. Southern Surprise is also a winner on turf, having captured a one-mile allowance at Churchill Downs last May.

* Steve Crist, chairman and publisher of Daily Racing Form, is scheduled to sign copies of his book "Betting on Myself" at Lone Star on Saturday.