06/07/2006 11:00PM

Lack of pace main hurdle for 'Bender'

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CALGARY, Alberta - Wild Bender is 2 for 2 at the 1 1/16-mile distance of Saturday's Duchess of York and should go postward as the favorite here at Stampede Park. The Duchess of York offers a purse of $50,000 plus $20,000 in bonus money for Alberta-breds.

Wild Bender needed every yard of the one-mile Ken Pearson Memorial here May 22, getting up in the final jump to overhaul Stole One after appearing beaten in deep stretch. Wild Bender drew the outside post in the field of seven on Saturday, and one concern for regular rider Rickey Walcott and trainer Dale Saunders is the lack of speed in the lineup, with the absence of Stole One this time around.

Speedy Gone Sally, who pressed Stole One in the early stages of the Pearson Memorial on May 22, is the likely pacesetter. Speedy Gone Sally upset Wild Bender with a wire-to-wire triumph in the Alberta Oaks going a mile last September, and rider Perry Winters will try and duplicate the feat Saturday from post 2.

Speedy Gone Sally runs coupled with To Dream Again, who drew post 5 and was assigned high weight of 124 pounds courtesy of her back-to-back stakes tallies sprinting earlier in the meet. To Dream Again faded to fourth after being three wide for much of the Pearson Memorial and, like Speedy Gone Sally, is unproven past a mile.

Trainer Dave Forster ships in Socorro County from her home base in Vancouver, and the 5-year-old will undoubtedly enjoy stretching out.