Her odds almost reached even money after a debut in which she ran away from the field in a seven-furlong maiden race.
And Potomac Bend proved that the first outing was no fluke, coming from off the pace this time to score a 2 1/4-length triumph over six rivals yesterday in the 18th running of the $60,000 Jameela Stakes at Laurel Park.
"It was a good day to teach her to stay off the lead," said winning jockey Mark Johnston. "The only other time she ran, she had it all to herself."
The Polish Numbers filly powered her way between horses through the lane and easily overcame Quick 'n Smart, the front-runner, and Mysterious Jak, who rallied from behind her for the place money.
The winning time of 1: 11 3/5 for six furlongs was most respectable for 3-year-old fillies.
"The horse next to us flipped going into the gate," Johnston went on. "That kind of thing could really rattle a horse. But my filly went back to our pony and then went right into the gate."
Johnston was content to run behind Quick 'n Smart and Oh Gratious for the first half-mile.
"When daylight opened at the top of the stretch, she really kicked on through," said the jockey. "She could be a really nice horse."
Potomac Bend was purchased by Wayne Harrison of Twin Oaks Stable at Timonium.
"Then we took her back to the farm and broke her there," Harrison said. "At 2, we sent her to [trainers] Vinnie Blengs and Eduardo Reyes. They've done a marvelous job with her."
Same aims for Prado
What does Edgar Prado do for an encore after winning 1,010 races over the last two years?
"I don't have any number in mind for this year," the nation's No. 1 jockey said after being honored in the Laurel winner's circle during yesterday's card. "The main thing is just to stay healthy and let things happen."
No rider has ever won 1,500 races in three consecutive years, and Prado's 1999 campaign got off to a bad start.
He was suspended by the stewards for two weeks and "the couple days I missed" because of flight problems returning from his native Peru "didn't help, either," according to Prado.
He said he plans to continue the same schedule that carried him to record-breaking figures, riding regularly at all the Maryland tracks and Virginia's Colonial Downs, and venturing to Delaware Park on dark days here.
With five victories yesterday, Prado made up some of his lost time.
The death of Norquestor last week at New Bolton (Pa.) veterinary center has deprived Maryland of its third-highest-ranking stallion. Norquestor ranked behind only Polish Numbers and Allen's Prospect. Charles Town Races has added Wednesday to its schedule next month to compensate for days lost to inclement weather. Post time for Wednesdays will be 4 p.m. Laurel will be host today to another meeting of the Pony Pals Club from 8: 30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are required by calling 301-725-0400.
Pub Date: 1/24/99