08/14/2005 11:00PM

Wild Bender matches her mom's feat


EDMONTON, Alberta - Like mother, like daughter.

Just as her dam, Wild Creek, did eight years ago, Wild Bender captured Alberta's premier stakes offering for 3-year-old fillies, the $100,000 Alberta Centennial, on Saturday.

Formerly known as the Sonoma Stakes but renamed for this year to mark the province's 100th birthday, the Alberta Centennial saw Rickey Walcott win his seventh stakes in less than two months of the Northlands meet. Walcott said that Wild Bender's trainer, Dale Saunders, asked him to change strategy for the race.

"[Saunders] told me to push the only speed horse, Speedy Gone Sally, so that she wouldn't have things all her own way up front," Walcott said after the Centennial, his fourth victory of the day.

Wild Bender had Speedy Gone Sally hooked on the backstretch and wore down that front-runner. Wild Bender, who returned $10.50, won by three-quarters of a length over Vancouver invader Secrets Galore, who earlier had been racing in the Eastern United States.

Another Hastings-based filly, After the Knight, finished third as the 3-2 favorite.

Wild Bender is owned by the trainer's wife, Barb Saunders, who also owned Wild Creek, winner of the 1997 Sonoma.

* On Friday night, Raylene's homecoming from Woodbine resulted in a four-length loss to 8-1 Ice Girl in the $50,000 Madamoiselle. Raylene ran second as the 1-2 favorite in the field of seven.