Mark Sitlinger’s Struth earned his second stakes victory in eight starts since being claimed for $20,000 in mid-May at Pimlico, taking command on the turn and rolling to a four and a quarter-length triumph in the $75,000 Howard M. Bender Memorial on Dec. 9 at Laurel Park. The 5-year-old chestnut son of Curlin completed six furlongs in 1:09.21.

“He’s been a great claim. We got him back in May and he’s won two stakes, so we couldn’t be happier,” Sitlinger said. “[Trainer] Kieron [Magee] and [his wife] Kelly do a great job and we’re really happy to have him.”

Struth recorded his first stakes win at Delaware Park in the Hockessin Stakes in July on Del Cap Day. Bred by Robert Meyerhoff’s Fitzhugh LLC and campaigned by his breeder until the claim, Struth now has a record of 22-8-6-1 and earnings of $341,075, with more than $200,000 coming this year.

Out of the Polish Numbers mare Star Number, Struth is a grandson of Meyerhoff’s two-time Maryland-bred champion Star Minister, a graded stakes winner of $458,650 who won or placed in 18 of 21 starts, and won seven stakes, topped by the Grade 2 Cotillion Handicap.

Star Number, a half-sister to stakes winner Concerned Minister, was unraced, but produced as her first foal stakes winner Hartigan, a daughter of Include who captured the Gin Talking Stakes at 2 and Pearl Necklace and Twixt Stakes at 3. Meyerhoff bred named seven foals out of Star Number, the last one Struth, before selling the mare at the 2014 Keeneland January All Ages sale. Veterinarians Lenny Pineau and his wife Pat Bradley made the purchase for $18,000. Barren that year to Include, the mare has since produced a Graydar filly named Number the Stars, a $75,000 RNA at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale who broke her maiden first time out at Laurel Park on Oct. 20 and most recently finished fifth in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship for her breeders’ Triple Tree Stable. Star Number missed to Munnings for 2016, but produced a colt by the same stallion this past March and was bred back to Palace.

Read more about the running of the Howard M. Bender Memorial here

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