05/19/2012 3:10PM

Pimlico: Hamazing Destiny ends drought in Maryland Sprint Handicap

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Barbara D. Livingston
Hamazing Destiny wins the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths over Bandbox.

BALTIMORE – Capitalizing on a perfect trip just off the early speed duel, Hamazing Destiny secured his first win in 20 months with a decisive score in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap here at Pimlico Race Course.

Hamazing Destiny, the narrow favorite, scored by a relatively comfortable 1 1/2 lengths over the rallying Bandbox, who, like the winner, was sent off at 5-2. Action Andy passed horses on the outside in the stretch to be third, just less than two lengths behind Bandbox. It was another 3 3/4 lengths back to a tired Diski Dance, fourth finisher in the field of seven. My Cuz C J, Broad Rule, and Ravalo were program scratches.

Hamazing Destiny, owned by the Westrock Stables and Barry Butzow, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, and ridden by Corey Nakatani, covered the six furlongs over a fast but hardly glib track in 1:10.48. He paid $7.80.

The Maryland Sprint unfolded perfectly for Hamazing Destiny from the outset. Immortal Eyes and Diski Dance quickly engaged in a head-and-head battle for the lead, with Hamazing Destiny positioned just off and outside of them in third. Bandbox was close behind Hamazing Destiny in fourth.

Around the far turn, after an opening quarter in 23.02 seconds and before a half in 46.32, Hamazing Destiny went after the embattled leaders in earnest three wide, with Bandbox following behind him in fourth. Hamazing Destiny took control in upper stretch and kept Bandbox at bay under little more than mild encouragement from Nakatani.

“The trip was great,” Nakatani said. “Coach [Lukas] wanted me to be just off them like we were. He ran a tremendous race.”

Hamazing Destiny, a 6-year-old horse by Salt Lake out of Ms Proud Destiny, by Artax, was winning for the first time since an overnight score at Delaware Park 11 starts ago, in September 2010. However, in the interim, he did finish second to Big Drama in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, was third in the 2011 Grade 3 Phoenix, and was a close third in the Grade 3 Count Fleet Handicap last month.