Sunday, January 11, 2009


LAUREL, MD. 01-10-09---Sondra Bender’s Access Fee sped to the lead and scored an easy victory in the $50,000 What A Summer Stakes for fillies and mares at Laurel Park.

Sent to post as the favorite against nine others under jockey Jose Caraballo, Access Fee remained unbeaten at Laurel Park with her 4-3/4 length victory in 1:10.31 over the fast main track. The daughter of Menifee paid $3.60.

All Giving rallied to take second and Now It Begins, who chased the favorite, held on to finish third.

Access Fee is trained by Larry Murray at Laurel. She showed promise from the very beginning. She won her first two starts at Laurel last winter, finished second in an allowance test at Philadelphia Park on the turf in July and returned here in the fall to win again. In her most recent start on December 14, Access Fee finished fourth as the co-favorite in the Foil Stakes at Aqueduct.

“She was brilliant from the first time we ever did anything with her,” said Murray. “It was unfortunate what happened in New York. Ramon (jockey Ramon Dominguez) said the ground just broke out from under her and she lost all chance. If that hadn’t happened I think she was the best horse in that race. It is going to be a blemish on her record.”

Caraballo, who has been aboard in five of her six career starts, was looking around for competition as he raced to the finish line.

“She is a runner and has a ton of ability. I was just galloping and when I asked her she just took off,” said Caraballo. “I had plenty left and made sure we have enough horse for the next start.”

Murray indicated his star would be pointed to the $150,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (Grade II) at Laurel on February 14.

“It is a graded stakes at her home track where she is a perfect four-for-four,” added Murray. “She has a lot of raw talent and is probably as good as a filly the Benders had years ago called Clever Power, who was quick.”

Access Fee is now four-for-six with career earnings of $95,050.


Laurel Park will not be open for live racing next Wednesday, January 14 so it can card a nine-race program on Monday, January 19 for the Martin Luther King holiday. Laurel and Pimlico Race Course will be open for simulcasting, which will include a special 14-race card from San Isidro in Argentina.

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