Taking advantage of a seam at the head of the stretch, Derwin's Star streaked to her first graded stakes win in the $150,000 Bed o' Roses (gr. III) July 1 at Belmont Park (VIDEO).
Ridden by Ramon Dominguez for owners Marcia Cohen and Steve Klesaris, who also trains her, Derwin's Star tallied by 3 1/2 lengths while completing the seven-furlong distance in 1:22.53 on a fast track.
Woodsfield Farm bred the winning 5-year-old mare in Florida. The chestnut is by Wildcat Heir out of the Star de Naskra mare Powerful Package.
Derwin's Star has now won eight of her 17 lifetime starts but her only prior stakes win came in the Charles Town Oaks in September 2010. She was coming off a good closing third-place finish when wide in the My Juliet Stakes at Parx Racing May 26.
“We wanted to get some graded stakes on her resume, and that was a big victory for us today," Klesaris said. "This filly has always shown a lot of ability from way back when she was third to Blind Luck and Havre de Grace (in the 2010 Delaware Oaks).
"We’ve had to deal with a lot of issues with her and at one point we thought about retiring her, but we gave her time. We’ll look at the Ballerina. That would definitely be in our sights.”
The grade I Ballerina is Aug. 24 at Saratoga Race Course.
Six older fillies and mares contested the Bed o' Roses with the veterinarian's scratch of Honchis'n Ponchis. Eric Fein's C C's Pal was the 11-10 favorite.
Catinatree went to the lead along the inside soon after the start, leading C C's Pal and Island Bound while clipping off even fractions of :23.26 and :46.24. Derwin's Star was well positioned just behind the leaders in fourth while racing slightly off the rail. Catinatree and C C's Pal were head-and-head coming off the turn, but when C C's Pal drifted out a bit coming into the stretch, Derwin's Star surged through the opening for Dominguez to get the lead in upper stretch.
Derwin's Star opened up a two-length lead at mid-stretch and continued to draw off before being geared down approaching the wire.
“She was right behind the speed," Dominguez said. "Steve said, ‘If you can get behind the speed, just wait and she’ll fire for you.’ And sure enough turning for home she found the opening and just took off.”
Catch a Thief, who stumbled badly at the start and trailed down the backstretch, closed five wide in the lane under Eddie Castro to get up for second by a neck over C C's Pal and Junior Alvarado. Twice the Lady, Island Bound, and Catinatree followed.
Derwin's Star earned $90,000 for the victory and has now banked $536,570. She carried 116 pounds, six fewer than top-weighted C C's Pal, and returned $6.90, $4.20, and $2.40 as the second choice. Catch a Thief paid $11.80 and $4 and rounded out a $58 exacta. C C's Pal, winner of Belmont's Vagrancy (gr. II) June 2 for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., was $2.10 to show.