Prominent Owner/Breeder Sondra Bender Passes

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The Maryland racing community lost one of its most prominent members when owner and breeder Sondra Bender passed away Wednesday afternoon after a battle with uterine cancer. She was 78 years old. A resident of Bethesda, Sondra and her husband Howard owned Glade Valley Farm in Frederick.

“I considered her the first lady of Maryland racing,” said Larry Murray, who has trained for Bender since 1988 and is the farm manager at Glade Valley. “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.”

The Benders owned two horses who competed in Triple Crown races. Southern Appeal finished 13th in the 1986 Kentucky Derby, while Foufa’s Warrior was seventh in the 2003 Preakness Stakes.

Bender is all over the Maryland Million record books. She is tied atop the owner rankings with five victories and has bred four winners.

La Reine’s Terms had two of those Maryland Million scores and was the stable’s most successful runner. The son of Private Terms, who was bred by Bender in 1995, won 11 stakes races including five in 2002 on five different turf courses. La Reine’s Terms retired with $804,591 in earnings after a score in the 2005 Maryland Million Turf at the age of 10, off a year layoff.

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Dale Capuano Posts 3,000th Career Win

314896120-23151637Twelve days after Todd Pletcher became the 26th trainer in North America to win 3,000 races, Maryland mainstay Dale Capuano joined the elite group with a victory by Father Mudd ($12.40) in Thursday afternoon’s ninth race at Laurel Park.

“I was pretty proud when I won our first race so when you get to 3,000 it’s pretty remarkable,” Capuano said. “It’s just been a pretty good run. You know we’ve had a lot of help, great clients, great barn people who work for us, a team effort. I’m just the leader.”

The 49-year-old joins a club that includes other Maryland regulars King Leatherbury (3rd-6,335), Scott Lake (6th-5,153), Buddy Delp (12th-3,674) and Dick Dutrow (13th-3,665).

“Racing against most of those guys, day in and day out, just makes you better,” added Capuano. “The business has changed quite a bit since the mid-90’s and early 2000’s. We’re trying to change with the times and things are tougher now, but we’re going to keep rolling along. They economy is going down and most of the tracks race less days than they used to back then so we’re based here and we just don’t have the days we had ten or fifteen years ago and that really is a difference to an outfit like mine.”

Capuano will go for number 3,001 in Saturday’s opener with Iris’ Proverb.

“I really haven’t thought about the milestone much,” Capuano stated. “I am glad we reached it. We really aren’t winning races like we used to. I am just trying to go to work each day and doing the best I can do. When things slow down I am sure I will look back at this accomplishment and reminisce but this was just another race we were trying to find a way to win.”

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