07/27/2002 12:00AM

Calder: Bandiera takes Aspidistra


Banderia ($10) enabled trainer Marty Wolfson to win the $75,000 Aspidistra Handicap for the fifth time when she drew off to a two-length victory at Calder.

Jockey Manuel Cruz began to ask the 5-year-old Banderia to make a run with a half-mile remaining in the one-mile turf race, but she was still fifth coming into the final turn. Banderia slipped through along the inside while advancing into contention, then swung outside 3-2 favorite Bay Street Gal and took command inside the sixteenth pole.

Bay Street Gal hung on for second, a length in front of Bail Money, who is also trained by Wolfson but raced uncoupled with her stablemate.

Banderia, who has now won six of 12 career starts, covered the distance on firm turf in 1:37.00.

"I always worry when they come up the inside where they might get into trouble, but he [Cruz] rode her well," said Wolfson, who last won the Aspidistra in 1998 with Pleasant Music. "I was also concerned when that other filly [Bay Street Gal] spurted clear in the stretch.

"But this is a good mare," he added. "We'll keep her right here and see what comes up next for her."