Colstar Repeats in Locust Grove

On Saturday at Churchill Downs, Beverly R. Steinman's homebred Colstar won the $172,800 Locust Grove Handicap (gr. IIIT) for the second consecutive year.

Under Jon Court, Colstar completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.79 on firm turf, finishing a half-length clear of Solvig.

"The filly broke very alertly and I was instructed to keep her interested into the race," said Court. "It got pretty competitive as we were in the turn for home and she was able to get through. We were very fortunate because they were piling up there turning for home and she shot through and with determination she held on for the win. She ran really big today."

Megans Bluff suffered her first defeat on the Churchill Downs turf course, coming home a tiring third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Solvig. Histoire Sainte, third in last year's renewal, finished fourth, followed by Sassy Sabrina, Joi's Flame, Star Queen, Alybgood, Sitka, Gino's Spirits, and Clearly a Queen.

Colstar (Opening Verse--Ascend, by Risen Star) is a 5-year-old mare trained by Paul Fout. The win was her first in a graded stakes since the Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park last October.

"Actually, she's a little stronger (compared to last year)," said Fout. "We were confident. The thing is once and a while you hope you win and, as you get a little further along, you say hope you don't lose. But we're very pleased."

Colstar earned $107,136 for the win, her 10th in 17 career starts.

The 21-10 favorite in the 11-horse field, Colstar returned $6.20, $4.20, and $3. Solvig paid $8.20 and $4.60. Megans Bluff was worth $3.20 to show. The winning exacta combination returned $46.20. (Chart, Equibase)