Bettors were fairly certain Chad Brown would win the $600,000 New York Stakes (G2) on Friday at Belmont Park, but as is sometimes the case, it was the horse given less of a chance who won.
Fourstar Crook got the jump on stablemate and 1-2 race favorite Sistercharlie, reeling in runaway pacesetter Fahan Mura to win the 1 1/4-mile affair for the partnership of Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and Gary Aisquith.
Sistercharlie had gotten the better of Fourstar Crook in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) most recently when the latter was last early in the race after starting from the outside post. Fourstar Crook was more midpack in this race, and she responded willingly to jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.’s urging as the field turned for home.
“They both ran really well and, given how strong the fractions were, I thought we had a big shot,” Brown said. “Sistercharlie had a nightmare trip, but that takes nothing away from Fourstar Crook who ran great. The Wiley was probably a little short for her, and this was the right trip.”
Bred by Kathleen Feron in New York, Fourstar Crook is by Freud out of the D’accord mare Avril a Portugal.
Co-owner Dubb said it always means a little more to win a big race with a New York bred.
“I feel so strongly that the people in New York racing are some of the hardest working and humble people in this game,” Dubb said. “My goal with (Fourstar Crook) would probably be the (July 21) Diana ([G1] at Saratoga). The (August 11) Beverly D ([G1] at Arlington Park) would be a backup, but she’s a New York bred by a New York sire, and we like to win New York races.”
Fahan Mura blitzed to the early lead and was up by more than eight lengths early before starting to come back to the field on the far turn. Fourstar Crook made up about 10 lengths on the pacesetter inside the quarter-pole and outlasted her stablemate to get the win.
“The speed horses opened up way too much, so I didn’t pay attention to them,” Ortiz said. “I just rode my filly, and she was comfortable, so I didn’t try to do anything crazy. I kept her covered up and saved ground. When I needed her she responded. Sistercharlie was flying, but we held on.”
The win pushes Fourstar Crook over $1.2 million in earnings. She has won 11 of 17 starts.