Fourstar Crook wins eighth straight in G3 James Penny Memorial

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Photo by Barbara Weidl/EQUI-PHOTO

By Sarah Mace

Fourstar Crook took her winning ways on the road this Tuesday, July Fourth, when she contested the Grade 3, $200,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Parx. Sent off from her outside post as 7-2 third choice, by the time all was said and done, the 5-year-old mare had posted her eighth straight victory, extending a streak she began in October 2015, and added her first graded black type to an already-accomplished resume.

Trained by Chad Brown for Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stable, Fourstar Crook was last seen winning the Mount Vernon Stakes from off the pace on the Big Apple Showcase Memorial Day card at Belmont. The victory completed her sweep of the three major turf stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares, beginning with the Yaddo last summer at Saratoga and John Hettinger stakes at Belmont in the fall.

On Independence Day, however, the 5-year-old Freud mare faced the sternest test of her career. This was her first journey across state lines, only her second time facing open company, and her graded stakes debut. The field was 8-strong, and chock-full of talent, including two other well-regarded rivals from her home barn.

Out of the gate alertly and crossing over into the two path from post eight, Fourstar Crook settled in sixth under Joe Bravo about six lengths off the pace set by Thundering Sky, who was pressed by Cambodia through a first quarter in :24 flat and a half-mile in 48.64.

After cruising comfortably up the backstretch, even content to lose a spot, Fourstar Crook began to quicken midway around the far turn as Bravo shook her up.

Photo by Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO

Fanning out into mid-track at the head of the stretch, with six horses still left to pass, Fourstar Crook hit her best stride after just a pair of reminders from Bravo.

She proceeded to cruise on by the field with apparent ease on her way to a 2 1/4-length victory. After a mile in 1:36.98, her final time over the firm turf was 1:42.78. My Impression in second outfinished Cambodia in third by a neck.

With the Penny win, Fourstar Crook’s earnings passed the half million-dollar mark ($544,050), and she improved her record to eight wins and a second in 11 starts.

Bred by Kathleen M. Feron and foaled at Akindale Farm in Pawling, Fourstar Crook is out of 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 delivered a Freud colt on April 19, 2017.

Purchased by Allied Bloodstock at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale for $55,000. Fourstar Crook was picked up by Michael Dubb the following year at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Spring sale of 2-year-olds for $110,000.

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