Updated on 09/17/2011 1:08PM

Bedanken trip successful again

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Lou Hodges Jr.
Bedanken, Don Pettinger up, wins the $125,000 Grade III Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap Saturday at Fair Grounds.

NEW ORLEANS - Three times Bedanken has shipped to Fair Grounds from her winter quarters at Oaklawn Park, and three times she has gone home with a stakes win. Saturday, in yet another dominating performance, Bedanken won the Grade 3, $125,000 by 1 3/4 lengths.

Bedanken won the 2002 Pago Hop Handicap by seven lengths, and after an injury-riddled 2003 season, came back last December to score a one-length win in the Furl Sail Handicap. Her win Saturday was even easier, but to say Bedanken is a Fair Grounds turf-course specialist is to miss the bigger picture: Bedanken rarely loses anywhere.

The Bayou BC victory gave Bedanken an amazing 9 wins from 12 starts. Her three losses include two thirds and a second. Do not accuse this rather plain-looking gray mare of doing anything less than running her heart out.

Bedanken went off in the Bayou at odds of 3-2, and with the trip she got, she might as well have been 1-5. There was little pace in the 1 1/8-mile Bayou, but Bedanken got first run on her chief rivals, and when a seam opened at the rail turning for home, jockey Don Pettinger sent Bedanken through it. The race had ended about 10 minutes before, but Pettinger's eyes still gleamed at Bedanken's swift move.

"She's got a good turn of foot, that's for sure," Pettinger said.

The Bayou BC had a pace void. Mexican Moonlight stepped in to fill it, setting fractions of 24.71 seconds for a quarter-mile and 50.31 for a half, but she was no match when Bedanken began rolling. Pettinger said he asked Bedanken to pause for a few strides after she got her spot on the fence. At the eighth pole, the pair took off again, and the race was over. Due to Win Again, honest as ever, narrowly outran Lady Linda for second.

Bedanken, owned by Josephine Abercrombie's Pin Oak Stud, paid $5 and was timed in 1:52.74 over a course rated firm. Her next start is uncertain, but trainer Donnie Von Hemel has major-league long-term goals. "We'll look at some good races over the summer, possibly the Breeders' Cup," Von Hemel said. "I think she could be that good."