05/07/2004 11:00PM

Canadian Frontier takes advantage


ELMONT, N.Y. - Canadian Frontier took advantage of an inside trip and a bad break by favored Shake You Down to win Saturday's Grade 3, $107,700 at Belmont Park.

Shake You Down's right front foot was buried in the dirt when the gates opened, causing him to stumble. He was further inhibited when Aggadan, breaking directly to his outside, broke inward, forcing Ramon Dominguez to take up. Shake You Down chased the field, but eventually finished last as the 4-5 favorite.

Meanwhile, Javier Castellano hustled longshot Canadian Frontier from the gate. He pressed the pacesetting Key Deputy from the inside through fractions of 22.51 seconds and 44.92. Canadian Frontier ran the turn extremely well and took control turning for home. With five cracks of Castellano's right-handed whip, Canadian Frontier drew clear down the lane to win by 3 3/4 lengths. Key Deputy finished second, a nose in front of First Blush.

Canadian Frontier, a 5-year-old son of Gone West, covered the six furlongs in 1:08.97 over a fast track and returned $43 as the longest-priced horse in the six-horse field.

Trainer Stan Hough, who bought the horse from owner/trainer Kiaran McLaughlin a year ago, said he thought that after Shake You Down, the rest of the field was pretty evenly matched.

"I didn't want to see that happen [to Shake You Down] but that obviously took him out of the race with his style of running," said Hough, who trains Canadian Frontier for Mrs. Paul Robsham. "The rail has not been the place to be, but [Castellano] stayed in the three-path, which was good. This horse has been doing great, and I thought he could possibly run a good race and be third."

Canadian Frontier could make his next start in the $200,000 True North Handicap on June 5, Belmont Stakes Day.

Bending Strings takes Nassau County

McLaughlin may have lost out on training the Bold Ruler winner, but he soon was comforted when Bending Strings, a recent acquisition to his barn, won the Grade 2, $200,000 for 3-year-old fillies by 4 3/4 lengths. Grey Traffic, the 8-5 favorite and a filly that McLaughlin tried but failed to purchase, finished second, four lengths ahead of A Lulu Ofa Menifee.

McLaughlin received Bending Strings from owner John Gunther, who had his horses based in northern California with Jerry Hollendorfer. In her first start for McLaughlin, Bending Strings finished second to Society Selection in the Comely on April 9.

Under Jerry Bailey, Bending Strings stalked the dueling pacesetters Cherry Bomb and Grey Traffic, tipped three wide for the stretch drive, and drew off. Bending Strings, a homebred daughter of American Chance, covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.90 and returned $7.70 to win.

"John Gunther is a new owner for me, I've only had four starts for him, so to win this race, it's a big win," McLaughlin said. "She came from Jerry Hollendorfer in California. [Gunther] wanted to be back here where there are more opportunities, more options than in California."

McLaughlin said that Bending Strings could make her next start in the Grade 1 Acorn here on June 4.