By Sarah Mace
Four-year-old Fourstar Crook (Freud) has gotten awfully good – so good that she has gone undefeated since October 2015, when she broke her maiden at fourth asking in open company at Belmont Park.
Since then the turf router galloped though her New York-bred and open allowance conditions and won her stakes debut, the Yaddo at Saratoga on August 26. On Sunday, she won her sixth straight race, and second stakes contest, when she annexed the 1 1/8-mile $125,000 John Hettinger Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares. Chad Brown, who trains the filly for Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables LLC and Gary Aisquith, sees open company stakes competition in the filly’s future.
Sent off as 5-4 betting favorite under Javier Castellano to go nine furlongs for the first time from post two, Fourstar Crook settled near the back of the field in the two path as she rounded the clubhouse turn, while Invading Humor was hustled to the front to set moderate fractions of 24.72, 50.15 and 1:14.35, with Old Harbor on the chase.
Cruising along unhurried at the rail along the back stretch, and beginning to gear up rounding the far turn, Fourstar Crook angled out four wide at the head of the stretch and commenced her rally. Getting through in-between horses in upper stretch, she had clear running room for a surge the final sixteenth, when she lengthened her stride and spurted clear. She secured the 2 1/4-length victory in 1:49.27.
The Tea Cups rallied from last to finish second and Selenite, who raced steadily throughout, got the show. Old Harbor, Swear By It and Neck of the Moon followed in close succession, separated by a neck and a nose respectively. Invading Humor, Flipcup and Jc’s Shooting Star completed the order of finish. [VIDEO]
Javier Castellano said, “The way she did it today was very impressive. Her first time going two turns a mile and eighth. I was a little concerned with the lack of pace in the race, you could see the fractions were slow but the way she closed was very impressive.”
Winning trainer Chad Brown explained how the decision to give Fourstar Crook time to grow up has been key to the filly’s recent successes.
Said Brown, “Michael Dubb and I were commenting in the paddock before the race about how much she has developed. When the horse was first sent to us as a 2-year-old, she was kind of a small, immature-looking horse who trained OK. She got to the races a little bit, and then we kicked her out. Thankfully Mike and all his partners were so patient. We just let the filly grow and develop over time, and man, did she fill out! She looks nothing like she did when she was younger. It’s nice to see a horse develop this way.”
Brown concluded, “Along the way we’ve managed her responsibly; we’ve asked her to take small steps, we just didn’t throw her in the deep end of the pool. She went through her conditions and now she’s still with state-breds, but the way she ran today, down the road I could see this filly run in open company. She’s pretty good.”
Bred by Kathleen M. Feron and foaled at Akindale Farm in Pawling, Fourstar Crook is a graduate of the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale, where she was purchased for $55,000 by Allied Bloodstock. She next changed hands for $110,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Spring sale of 2-year-old after failing to meet her reserve for $70,000 at the Fasig-Tipton March sale.
Fourstar Crook is out of an unplaced John Hettinger-bred mare Avril a Portugal by D’Accord, who has produced six winners to date. Her Jump Start gelding Coaltown Legend earned over $320,000. The mare currently has a weanling filly by Freud and was bred back to the same stallion this year.
With a record of six wins and a one second from nine starts Fourstar Crook has earned $349,050.