Cheyenne Stables' Mystical Star got sweet revenge in the $200,000 New York Stakes (gr. IIT) June 30 at Belmont Park (VIDEO), experiencing no difficulties at the start to keep her from victory as she did in the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (gr. IIT) last time out.
The Christophe Clement-trained frontrunner took the 1 1/4-mile inner turf event by one length over Sheepshead Bay winner Aruna, who was sent off as the narrow second choice, while Hit It Rich completed the trifecta. Irish-bred Banimpire, a $3.1 million purchase making her North American debut for trainer Chad Brown, finished fifth as the 9-5 favorite among six older fillies and mares.
On May 26, Mystical Star beat the gate, reared up, and ducked inward at the start of the Sheesphead Bay, finding herself 11 lengths behind the pacesetter at first call before rallying to finish third under the wire. That day stewards disqualified the Ghostzapper filly and placed her last for her premature start. But there was no concern of her number being taken down this time.
Jockey Jose Lezcano kept Mystical Star near the lead through an opening quarter-mile of :23.65 run by longshot The Underling, and the eventual winner easily inherited the lead while clipping the half-mile in :48.82 and three-quarters in 1:13.18.
Lezcano tucked Mystical Star over to the rail while Aruna, who had been reserved at the pack of the pack in the early going, was forced to rally five wide off the final turn under jockey Ramon Dominguez. The lost ground proved too much for the Graham Motion-trained Aruna to overcome as Mystical Star held the advantage in a final time of 2:00.07 over firm going.
Mystical Star was sent off at odds of 9-2 and returned $11.80, $4.90, and $3.20 as the fourth choice. Aruna paid $3 and $2.40, and Hit It Rich, who finished a half-length behind Aruna with Javier Castellano aboard, brought $2.90. Principal Role, Banimpire, and The Underling completed the order of finish.
"She broke well, and we told the jock to put her wherever she was comfortable," Clement remarked. "She's obviously a top-class filly. She was very nice last year, but then her form went down. She was not quite as sound, so we gave her time and came back with her. She came back better than ever."
According to Clement, a start in the Aug. 1 Beverly D. Handicap (gr. IT) at Arlington Park could be a future target for the budding turf star.
Mystical Star is a 4-year-old bred in Kentucky by W. G. Lyster III and Green Lantern Stables out of the Capote mare Capture a Star. With the New York victory, Mystical Star improved her career record to four wins and a second from eight starts with earnings of $247,632. This was her first graded stakes score.