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Searching for his first career stakes win and making only his second start of 2013, Howard Bender’s London Lane was totally dismissed in the $300,000 Colonial Turf Cup-G2 on Saturday evening, June 22, going off at odds of 50-1 in a field of eight. But the Larry Murray-trained 6-year-old gelding found the distance and the Colonial turf to his liking to post one of the greatest upsets in the track’s history.

Guided by Horacio Karamanos, Colonial’s all-time leading rider, London Lane closed from far back and surged to a three-quarter-length victory over Hyper, completing the mile and three-sixteenths over a firm course in 1:55.94.

“He’s run some huge races and has been hanging with pretty good horses,” said Murray of the gelding’s career. Murray took aim at the Turf Cup after considering the number of turf stakes in the region that took away prospective runners, plus added “There are few opportunities to run this distance.”

London Lane bided his time at the rear of the field as Swift Warrior and Two Notch Road led through moderate fractions of :24.57 and :49.04. The expected rallies of favorites Atigun and Air Support never materialized, as Karamanos urged London Lane   with three-eighths to go. Sent five-wide around around the final turn, Karamanos was forced to wait inside of Hyper until that runner made his bid in upper stretch, then swung London Lane out to the seventh path. The chestnut Langfuhr gelding reeled in the entire field and rewarded his backers with a $102.60 win payoff, and topped a $660 exacta and $4,516.20 trifecta.

The win was the fifth of London Lane’s career from 22 starts, and the $174,600 winner’s share of the purse more than doubled his earnings to $322,270. The gelding is the first stakes winner for his dam, Travelling, and descends from one of Howard Bender and his late wife Sondra’s most prolific broodmares, Foufa.

A daughter of Storm Bird, Foufa was purchased by the Benders for $90,000 in foal to Al Mamoon at the 1989 at Keeneland January sale. Four months later, Foufa delivered future multiple stakes winner and Grade 1-placed Maryland Moon, who would earn $420,174 over six seasons.

Foufa produced 14 foals for the Benders, five stakes winners, the majority trained by Murray their entire careers. Her top earner is Foufa’s Warrior, a foal of 2000 who amassed $555,920 and won or placed in 16 stakes, topped by his course record-setting victory in the 2003 Kent Breeders’ Cup Stakes-G3. She also produced $278,760-earner and multiple stakes winner Certantee and $211,372-earner Media Access, a stakes winner and five times stakes-placed. Her only stakes winner not to win on the turf was her Broad Brush son Full Brush. He earned $412,082, all but $22,040 on the main track, and won or placed in a dozen stakes, most after being claimed from the Benders midway through his career.

Travelling was Foufa’s seventh foal for the Benders, and the only one to never start. Retired to the broodmare band, the Miswaki mare made a bit of news with her first foal, a With Approval filly born at 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2001, at Glade Valley Farms. Named Air Travel, she failed to win in her only start. Until London Lane came along, Travelling’s best runners were steeplechase stakes-placed runner El Viaje, an earner of $84,594, and Aruban Sandwich, an allowance winner of $50,700 and currently a member of the broodmare band.

London Lane broke his maiden in his second career start in December 2009 for a $25,000 tag. He finished third in his stakes debut in Pimlico’s Federico Tesio Stakes on the main track in May 2010, but has spent the majority of his career in allowance company on the turf going a distance - all of his wins have been at a mile or farther. In nine starts since December 2011, London Lane faced stakes company six times - until the Colonial Turf Cup, the best result he could muster were fourth-place finishes in Laurel’s Japan Racing Association Stakes and Jennings Handicap (the latter on the main track) and Delaware Park’s Sussex Stakes.

Karamanos, who had not ridden London Lane since the Tesio, was interviewed by Colonial Downs’ Stan Salter after the Turf Cup and said Murray told him “Don’t look at the price, he is okay.”

Travelling produced a full brother to London Lane in 2011, Longing to Travel, who is currently on the farm. The mare delivered a “big, pretty filly by Include,” in March 2012, said Murray, but died after foaling. Foufa, now 30, is a pensioner on the farm. “I’ve liked them all,” added Murray. “They’re very nice horses and really try.”

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