Starformer rebounded from a pair of disappointing efforts to upset the 70th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 New York on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Seeking her fourth graded stakes win, Starformer, a 5-year-old, received a comfortable trip as she raced in third, tracking Mystical Star and Anjaz, through a half-mile in 50.13 seconds and three-quarters in 1:13.87.
Starformer ranged up three wide in the run to the quarter pole, promptly took the lead after Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado shook the reins, and drove clear to win by 1 ¾ lengths over late-running Lady of Shamrock. Favored Dream Peace finished a head behind the runner-up after checking in the stretch.
The longest shot on the board at 15-1, Starformer returned $33.60 for a $2 win wager and completed 1 ¼ miles on the inner turf course in 2:00.33.
Starformer concluded her 4-year-old season by winning the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap in November at Aqueduct Racetrack and made a successful return to the races when she easily took the Grade 3 The Very One in February at Gulfstream Park.
In her two most recent starts, she raced evenly when fifth in the Grade 3 Orchid in March at Gulfstream and faded badly to finish last of eight in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay on May 25 at Belmont.
“The last time she had an excuse; the ground was very soft and I don't think she was very happy,” said Prado. “Today was firm ground, she broke running out of there and I was able to sit behind the leaders most of the first part of the race. When I called on her, she fought hard and kicked in strong.”
Starformer's record now stands at 6-2-3 from 17 starts, with the $120,000 winner's share of the New York purse pushing her earnings to $535,626.
“She had a beautiful work last weekend and she certainly fits with these horses,” said Leana Willaford, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. “Edgar rode her perfect; he always does. He knows her well and he's a very smart jockey.”
Starformer is owned by Juddmonte Farms, who bred the bay mare in Kentucky. She is by Dynaformer and out of Etoile Montante, who won a Group 1 in France and a pair of graded stakes in the United States for Juddmonte.
Minakshi finished a neck behind Dream Peace in fourth, and it was another neck back to Mystical Star and a nose back to Regalo Mia. Anjaz and Tannery completed the order of finish.
Post-race quotes, from NYRA press office
Leana Willaford, assistant to winning trainer Bill Mott, of Starformer (No. 6): “She ran great. I think the ground was a little too soft for her the other day, so we were pretty confident going into this race. She had a beautiful work last weekend and she certainly fits with these horses. Edgar [Prado] rode her perfect; he always does. He knows her well and he's a very smart jockey.”
Edgar Prado, winning jockey aboard Starformer (No. 6): “Well, you know, the last time she had an excuse; the ground was very soft and I don't think she was very happy. Today was firm ground, she broke running out of there and I was able to sit behind the leaders most of the first part of the race. When I called on her, she fought hard and kicked in strong.”
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