02/23/2012 3:12PM

Sondra Bender, Maryland breeder and owner, dies


Maryland owner and breeder Sondra Bender has died at age 78, the Maryland Jockey Club announced Thursday.

Bender, who owned Glade Valley Farm in Frederick, Md., with her husband, Howard, died Wednesday of uterine cancer. The couple’s homebreds included Grade 1 winner Southern Appeal; graded winners King’s Nest, Promenade Girl, Foufa’s Warrior, and Secret Odds; as well as 11-time stakes winner La Reine’s Terms. Bender also campaigned Grade 3 winner Don’s Choice, a yearling purchase. Runners currently in the Bender stable include stakes-winner Indian Dance and stakes-placed Reckless Runner.

Her best racing season was in 2002, when seven of her runners won 13 stakes among them. She also bred two more stakes winners that year.

“I considered her the first lady of Maryland racing,” said Glad Valley farm manager Larry Murray, who also trained for Bender. “She enjoyed the game and was very classy. She took the bad just as well as the good. They enjoyed it together. It was very rare to see them apart. I hope Mr. Bender can find some solace in the races without her.”

A memorial service was to take place Friday at Beth El Synagogue in Bethesda, Md., at 10 a.m.