Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and Gary Aisquith's Fourstar Crook got her Grade 1 win by two lengths on Sunday, cruising from last-to-first despite a very slow early pace in the Flower Bowl at Belmont Park. The 6-year-old New York-bred daughter of Freud completed 1 1/4 miles over the “good” turf in 2:03.28, earning an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf next month at Churchill Downs. The 4-5 favorite, Fourstar Crook was ridden by Irad Ortiz for trainer Chad Brown.
“This horse ran super,” Brown said. “We expected a short field and that the pace wouldn't be that strong, and it wasn't, but she was able to overcome it. She's a really consistent horse and she particularly likes Belmont. She ran to her odds. She seemed very deserving to finally win a Grade 1. When you look at who's she's beaten when she's not in Grade 1s, and who she's lost to by short margins, this filly is very deserving to finally achieve that and remarkable at age six.
“Michael Dubb and his partners have really done right by this filly her entire career. Every winter she's gone to Ocala and rested, and every year she's come back bigger and stronger. They've managed her very well. The way she finished today she surely looks like a mile the three-eighths won't be a problem for her. We know that it will be a much deeper field, but she's game and she's not afraid to run against anybody, I tell you that. She's a brave horse.”
Fourstar Crook took up her customary position at the rear of the field as soon as the gates opened, tracking a very mild early pace set by lone frontrunner Feeling Bossy. The fractions were :25.71, :51.72, and 1:15.80, but still Fourstar Crook was able to explode in the stretch to win by two lengths on the wire.
“She flew home,” said Ortiz. “She was going so comfortable and when I asked, she just exploded.”
Following Fourstar Crook across the wire were her stablemate Onthemoonagain, Lady Montdore, and Danceland. Queen's Plate winner Holy Helena finished last of the seven-horse field.
Bred in New York by Kathleen Feron, Fourstar Crook was a $110,000 juvenile purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale. Before the Flower Bowl, she had thrice placed in Grade 1 company, but she finally found the winner's circle on the fourth attempt to improve her record to 12 wins from 19 starts. The mare has now earned over $1.6 million.
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