Brittlyn Stable's Wild About Star, racing for the first time outside of her native Louisiana, came with a sweeping move on the outside and stormed down the center of the track to pass favored Jo Jo Air to win Saturday's $100,000 The Very One at Pimlico Race Course.
“I am wild about Star!” said winning owner Evelyn Benoit. “It took me about 40 years to get a stallion. Star Guitar is the Louisiana stallion of the year, and I own the mare and we have a lot of babies. This is what I've been trying to do, not only promote Louisiana racing but horse racing for everyone, to show that Louisiana and women and women in my position can do this. It was very difficult. I never had a horse super enough to be a stallion. Gosh, it's just a dream. To win an open stakes here in this beautiful state of Maryland, it means everything to me. I'm so thrilled, couldn't be any happier if I won the Preakness. You have no idea, this is like the biggest dream in my life come true.”
The 20th running of the five-furlong The Very One for fillies and mares on the grass was among nine stakes, five graded, worth $2.8 million on a 14-race program highlighted by the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Ridden by Daniel Centeno, who later Saturday was slated to make his Triple Crown race debut aboard Maryland-bred multiple-stakes winner Alwaysmining in the Preakness, Wild About Star ($13) won in 56.93 seconds over a firm turf course.
It was the first career stakes win for Louisiana-bred Wild About Star, a 5-year-old Star Guitar mare making her first start for trainer Jose Camejo. Wild About Star chased even-money favorite Jo Jo Air through a quarter-mile in 22.88 seconds before forging a short lead on the turn and pulling away to a 1 ¾-length triumph. Jo Jo Air stayed up for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Misericordia. Eye On Berlin finished fourth.
Entered but scratched from Saturday's 5 ½-furlong Politely Stakes at Monmouth Park, Wild About Star now owns six wins from 15 career starts and is 5-for-11 lifetime going five furlongs on grass.
“[Owner Evelyn Benoit] decided to send her north because she's a Louisiana bred and we decided to give her a shot in this race,” said winning trainer Jose Camejo. “She owns the stallion [Star Guitar] and she wants to promote the stallion all over the place. And that's why she decided to give her to me and we decided to run today. She worked a couple times and the last work I knew she was sharp and that's why we decided to run and we got it done.”
Purchased out of a 1977 Maryland 2-year-old sale in Timonium for $22,000 by Maryland horsewoman Helen Polinger, The Very One went on to become one of the best race mares in training from 1977-81. The former claimer turned Grade 1 winner won 22 races and more than $1.1 million in purses from 71 starts, with eight graded-stakes wins including the 1979 Dixie (G2) at Pimlico and 1981 Santa Barbara Handicap (G1).
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