Fourstar Crook turned the tables on stablemate Sistercharlie June 8 and held on by a head to win the $600,000 New York Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G2T) at Belmont Park.
The win was revenge for the 6-year-old daughter of Freud who missed to 4-year-old Sistercharlie by 2 1/4 lengths last time out, settling for a runner-up finish in the April 14 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1T) going 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland. Both runners are trained by Chad Brown.
For a race decided by a head, the 1 1/4-mile New York featured plenty of open lengths early as 16-1 shot Fahan Mura sailed out to a seven-length advantage over Esquisse through an opening quarter in :23.12. It was 5 1/2 lengths back to the next contender, and the field of nine strung out from there, with odds-on favorite Sistercharlie bringing up the rear.
As Fahan Mura went through a half-mile in :46.39, Irad Ortiz Jr. had Fourstar Crook tucked against the rail after shifting over from post 8 in the early going. The bay mare raced by Michael Dubb, Mike Caruso's Bethlehem Stables, and Gary Aisquith was sixth while three-quarters went in 1:10.36, but she had the tiring leaders in her sights. Ortiz sent her five wide at the quarter pole, and the duo dove to the front midstretch.
"The speed horses opened up way too much, so I didn't pay attention to that," Ortiz said. "I just rode my filly. She was comfortable, so I didn't try to do anything crazy. I kept her covered up, saving ground, like the owner and Chad wanted. I just rode my filly, and she was there (for me at the end). ... Sistercharlie was flying, but she held on."
Making up ground under Hall of Famer John Velazquez after getting bumped at the start, Sistercharlie put in a strong rally in the stretch but ran out of time to catch the winner. It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Daddys Lil Darling in third. The final time was 1:59.21 on a course rated firm. Off at odds of 4-1, Fourstar Crook returned $10.80, $3.70, and $2.90.
"Both fillies ran tremendous," Brown said. "This is the tale of two trips. Fourstar Crook is a very nice filly and a deserving winner ... Michael Dubb deserves a lot of credit, and his partners. Mike is the one who decided to race her at 6, which is not always the 'in' thing to do. Mike loves this horse, as do his partners. ... They were rewarded today.
"Sistercharlie really had a nightmare trip," Brown continued. "(She) walked out of the gate, looked like she was making a move up the inside at the three-eighths pole, and then got steadied, moved back. Then for her to make a run again and to only get beaten by a head, she really ran a remarkable race. Disappointing to see her getting knocked out of position after her run at Keeneland, where I thought she was very vulnerable at a mile and a sixteenth and so tactical. Kind of weird to see her run her race all strung out. (The result was) disappointing, but her effort wasn't."
Fourstar Crook, bred in New York by Kathleen M. Feron out of the D'Accord mare Avril a Portugal, was a $110,000 purchase by Dubb from Parrish Farms' consignment to the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale. Her record stands at 11-3-1 from 17 starts, with earnings of $1,213,166.