Calumet Farm's Starstruck, a handy winner last time out in the WinStar Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park on the Haskell Day card, headlines the Jersey Shore track's Aug. 23 feature, the $100,000 Violet Stakes (gr. IIIT).
The 5-year-old chestnut mare won't have it easy in the nine-furlong event as she'll be challenged by a full gate of older fillies and mares. Monmouth Park, Saturday, August 23, 2014, Race 11
Starstruck has an affinity for the turf at Monmouth, having taken last year's Matchmaker as well, and a stellar pedigree, to boot. An Irish-bred daughter of Galileo, the hottest stallion on the planet with 31 stakes winners this year (183 career added-money winners), Starstruck is out of Agnetha, champion 3-year-old filly of 2002 in England and Ireland.
Earlier this year Starstruck placed in a pair of turf stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, then disappointed in the Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Pimlico and the Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park for trainer Larry Jones.
The runner-up in the Matchmaker was Robert Evans' Irish Mission, a 5-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway —Misty Mission, by Miswaki. At 3 the Canadian-bred won the classic Breeders' Stakes at Woodbine after capturing the Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser and running second in the Queen's Plate.
Don't count on Evans being at Monmouth; his Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Tonalist will be one of the favorites in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) the same afternoon in upstate New York.
Sycamore Racing's Nellie Cashman figures to be a danger if she goes. The 4-year-old filly by Mineshaft is cross-entered in the 1 1/16-mile Ballston Spa Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course.
There are strong contenders galore in the Violet, including Pin Oak Stable's Overheard (by Macho Uno ), winner of the Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT) last out at Woodbine; Eatontown Stakes (gr. IIIT) runner-up Triple Arch, a non-factor last time out on the dirt in the Molly Pitcher Stakes (gr. II) for Crossed Sabres Farm; and Zanim Meahjohn's Rusty Slipper, a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid who won the Little Silver Stakes over the local turf layout last May and was a good fourth in her 2014 bow in the June 21 Eatontown.
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 4 1Lady Aspen (KY) Eddie Castro 116 Todd A. Pletcher - 5 1ASilsita (FL) Eddie Castro 116 Todd A. Pletcher - 1 2Primed for Passion (KY) Jose C. Ferrer 116 Jonathan E. Sheppard - 2 3Starstruck (IRE) Kerwin D. Clark 123 J. Larry Jones - 3 4Why Katherine (ON) Abel Castellano, Jr. 116 Kevin Attard - 6 5Green Wave Girl (MD) Victor Santiago 116 Ann W. Merryman - 7 6She's Not Lazy (KY) Trevor McCarthy 116 H. Graham Motion - 8 7Fasnacloich (KY) Victor R. Carrasco 116 Hamilton A. Smith - 9 8Rusty Slipper (KY) Alex Cintron 116 H. Graham Motion - 10 9Triple Arch (KY) Orlando Bocachica 116 Marcus J. Vitali - 11 10Overheard (KY) Eurico Rosa Da Silva 123 Malcolm Pierce - 12 11Nellie Cashman (PA) Forest Boyce 116 Francis Abbott, III - 13 12Scampering (KY) Paco Lopez 118 Claude R. McGaughey III - 14 13Irish Mission (ON) Julian Pimentel 116 Christophe Clement - 15 14Brenda's Way (MD) Gabriel Saez 116 Damon R. Dilodovico -
Monmouth Park, Saturday, August 23, 2014, Race 11