Fourstar Crook makes off with seventh straight victory in Mount Vernon

Monday, May 29th, 2017
NYRA/Annette Jasko

NYRA/Annette Jasko

By Sarah Mace

A perfect four-for-four last year, Fourstar Crook (Freud) still “has it” at age five, extending a winning streak that goes back to October 2015 to seven races with an off-the-pace victory in the $125,000 Mount Vernon Stakes for fillies and mares.

Run at a mile over a yielding Widener turf course with the rail set at 18 feet, the Mount Vernon kicked off the stakes portion of Belmont’s special Memorial Day Big Apple Showcase card Monday.

Last seen on September 25 when she won the John Hettinger Stakes for trainer Chad Brown and partners Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stable, Fourstar Crook and pilot Javier Castellano got away from the gate smoothly after the bell and settled in fourth, four lengths off pacesetter Freudie Anne, who clocked even early fractions of 24.14 and 48.81.

With exemplary patience on display while rivals made earlier moves — at one point finding herself in last place — the 6-5 favorite geared up rounding the far turn as the field bunched up, and angled out five wide into upper stretch for the drive.

Rallying down the center of the course, Fourstar Crook lit the afterburners in the final furlong, motoring to the lead in the final sixteenth and edging away to capture the victory by three-quarters of a length. After six furlongs 1:13.08, she completed the mile in 1:37.33.

Ack Naughty closed from midpack to finish second, while Freudie Anne had to settle for third. Completing the order of finish were Ancient Secret, Louisville First and Free N Clear. [VIDEO REPLAY]

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

“She handled the ground so well,” Javier Castellano said in  the winner’s circle. “I was patient because you never know with soft ground. I could have been more involved [early], but I backed up and let the pressure off.”

Added Castellano, “She’s a special filly, I love the way she always [moves]. If the turf is firm, [or] soft, you can put her wherever you want, she’ll always kick. She’s very consistent and smart. She does everything the right way.”

Chad Brown, who has trained some of the best turf fillies and mares in the business, had this to say: “She’s an impressive horse. Now she has seven wins in a row on turf and that’s hard to do.”

Continued Brown, “She’s obviously very consistent and we’re proud of her. She’s wintered well. We gave her some time off and she put a lot of weight on and she had a great year last year. Flawless. Even this year I saw another step forward physically. She’s a stronger horse.”

Bred by Kathleen M. Feron and foaled at Akindale Farm in Pawling, Fourstar Crook first changed hands when purchased by Allied Bloodstock at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale for $55,000. Dubb acquired her for $110,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Spring sale of 2-year-olds after she was a $70,000 buyback at the Fasig-Tipton March sale. With a record of seven wins and a second from 10 starts, Fourstar Crook has earned $424,050.

Fourstar Crook’s dam is an unplaced John Hettinger-bred mare named Avril a Portugal by D’Accord. The producer of six winners, Avril a Portugal is also the dam of Coaltown Legend (Jump Start), who earned over $325,000. The mare currently has a yearling filly by Freud and was bred back to the same stallion last year, with no reported foal to date.

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