The 5-year-old homebred daughter of Dynaformer, who stalked the pace in third on the outside throughout the majority of the $200,000 race at 1 1/4 miles, is trained by Bill Mott for Juddmonte Stables.
Starformer was eighth, beaten 32 lengths in her last start, the May 25 Sheepshead Bay (gr. IIT). That race was won by Tannery, who finished last in the New York Stakes. It was the third graded victory for Starformer, who took the Feb. 16 The Very One (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park and last year’s Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“The last time (in the Sheepshead Bay) 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.”
In the New York, Mystical Star, under jockey Jose Lezcano, showed early initiative along the rail to get the lead. Lady of Shamrock, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, trailed the eight-horse field around the clubhouse turn, while Mystical Star continued to settle into an uncontested lead. Anjaz sat in second, and Starformer, piloted by Edgar Prado, found her comfort zone in third.
Fractions were :24.18, :50.13, and 1:13.87 for three quarters of a mile.
After a half mile, Anjaz got a head in front of Mystical Star, but then the latter 5-year-old mare came back to claim a narrow lead. Starformer continued to stalk the leaders while running along in third, with Tannery in fourth.
Lady of Shamrock continued to trail, about 10 lengths behind the field, as the tempo quickened around the far turn.
Coming into the stretch, Mystical Star still led as Starformer started to make a move on outside. Lady of Shamrock also came charging with a bold move on the outside, but time was running out. Starformer, who got the lead approaching the eighth pole, surged clear as the field came down to the line. A host of others came charging after her, but the mare emerged the clear leader at the wire, completing the distance in 2:00.33.
“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, of Starformer. “Edgar rode her perfect; he always does. He knows her well and he’s a very smart jockey.”
It was a close photo for second between Lady of Shamrock, who came on late to take the place by a head, and third-place finisher Dream Peace, the 19-10 favorite in the field of seven older fillies and mares. They were followed by Minakshi, Mystical Star, Regalo Mia, Anjaz, and Tannery.
Kentucky-bred Starformer improved her record to 6-2-3 from 17 starts, for earnings of $535,626. She is out of the Miswaki mare Etoile Montante, who won a group I race in France and a pair of graded stakes in the United States for Juddmonte.
Starformer paid $33.60, $14.80, and $7.20. Lady of Shamrock returned $6 and $3.60 to place, while Dream Peace paid $3 to show.