Fourstar Crook kicks away to win the John Hettinger by 3 1/2 lengths at Belmont Park

Fourstar Crook kicks away to win the John Hettinger by 3 1/2 lengths at Belmont Park

Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand

Fourstar Crook Kicks Clear in John Hettinger

Freud mare won by 3 1/2 lengths Sept. 24.

Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and Gary Aisquith's Fourstar Crook rallied from far back under jockey Javier Castellano to catch Tizzelle in the stretch and score by 3 1/2 lengths in the $125,000 John Hettinger Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 24.

The 5-year-old Freud  mare won for the ninth time in her last 10 starts dating to 2015, bouncing back from a second-place finish in the Yaddo Stakes Aug. 25 at Saratoga Race Course.

As far back as almost 20 lengths at one point, the Chad Brown trainee unleashed a powerful late run to finish the 1 1/8-mile race for New York-bred fillies and mares in a final time of 1:46.05 over firm turf. It was her second straight win in the event. 

Barrel of Dreams, under Joel Rosario, led the field through fractions of :23.38, :46.07, and 1:09.17 through six furlongs as Fourstar Crook raced in sixth. As Barrel of Dreams started to tire after a mile in 1:33.73 and Tizzelle took over, Fourstar Crook flew home much the best. 

Ack Naughty, also trained by Brown, finished from even further back to run third. Barrel of Dreams, Feeling Bossy, Flipcup, Summersault, Jc's Shooting Star, and Bonita Springs completed the order of finish.

Off as the 3-5 favorite, Fourstar Crook paid $3.50, $2.80, and $2.10 across the board. 

"I was a little concerned with the pace in front," Chad Brown said. "We were concerned as they were heading for home that she might not be able to reel them in, but she's something else. She's amazed me, she has a big strong kick and she got there in plenty of time.

"She's been very consistent this year, we thought about trying her against open company a couple of starts back, and now it's time to try something big. We'll think about wheeling her back in the (grade 1) E.P. Taylor in three weeks and then calling it a year for her until next year," Brown said.

"It was kind of a funny race. I didn't expect to be that way on paper," Castellano said. "I was kind of concerned the horses in front spread the field and I had to use my filly a little more than I'm used to. I had started going by the half-mile pole and she had a good, strong kick.

"I'm very fortunate to be the pilot, because no matter what you do she always shows up and gives you a consistent race. I really have to give credit to Chad and his team for how good she's been this year."  

Bred in New York by Kathleen Feron, Fourstar Crook has nine wins and two seconds from 13 starts for earnings of $649,050.