Stonewall Star handles foes in Key Cents

Sunday, November 20th, 2022

Stonewall Star, a homebred daughter of Flatter for Barry Schwartz, cruises to victory in Sunday’s Key Cents Stakes at Aqueduct. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

Barry Schwartz’s homebred Stonewall Star improved off her stakes debut last month and scored a front-running victory in Sunday’s co-featured $100,000 Key Cents Stakes at Aqueduct.

The 2-year-old daughter of Flatter, a close third behind males Acoustic Ave and Andiamo a Firenze in the New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes, led from the start on the way to a 4-length tally over Weekend Rags in the 6-furlong Key Cents. Ridden by Jose Ortiz for trainer Horacio De Paz, Stonewall Star improved to 2-for-4 with the victory in 1:13.48 over the fast track.

“She moved forward off that race at Finger Lakes,” De Paz said of her 1-length defeat after making a menacing and wide move around the far turn.

Ortiz was aboard for that effort and felt the 2-5 favorite would be up to the task against her five opponents Sunday.

“Going into the race, we kind of knew she was much the best,” Ortiz said. “She faced the boys at Finger Lakes and she ran a great race. We were confident today and she didn’t disappoint. She got a good trip, broke very alert and we were in control of the race every step of the way, which is what we wanted to do. She’s a nice filly.”

Bred and foaled at Stonewall Farm in Granite Springs, Stonewall Star became the second stakes winner out of Schwartz’s Proud Citizen mare Jonata. La Fuerza, a 6-year-old full sister to Stonewall Star won three stakes carrying his owner and breeder’s black and white colors in 2018. He won four of eight and earned 4261,610.

Jonata is also the dam of New York-bred winners Citizen K, a gelding by Mizzen Mast also trained by De Paz; and Whatlovelookslike, a 3-year-old by English Channel who won at Saratoga in early September and is 2-2-1 in seven starts with $155,250 for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Stonewall Star finished second behind Security Code in her debut Sept. 2 at Saratoga before a maiden-breaking score 20 days later at the Belmont at the Big A meeting. She earned a trip to Finger Lakes with that win, but broke slow in the 6-furlong Futurity. Stonewall Star handled her business better behind and in the gate Sunday, broke on top and took the field through fractions of :23.17 and :47.59

“She broke sharp today,” De Paz said. “I don’t know if that was by mistake; maybe getting settled in the gate a little bit, but she got great position early on.”

Stonewall Star turned for home in command, fended off a mild rally from maiden and 7-2 second choice Weekend Rags and widened her 2 1/2-length advantage in midstretch in the final furlong.

“She has sat behind horses and took dirt [in the Breeders’ Futurity], but I think with the kind of pace [we see] in the winter, she’ll be on top,” Ortiz said. “If she’s got good position, she can sit off speed. That’s the good thing about her – she’s not a ‘one-way’ horse; she can come from behind, and that’s a relief as a rider.”

Weekend Rags held second, a neck ahead of Security Code with Dream On Cara another 6 lengths back in fourth. Three Unions and Small Pebbles completed the field.

A $100,000 purchase by Schwartz at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale, Jonata won two of 17 starts with five placings and $140,800. Stonewall Star, the mare’s fourth foal, earned $55,000 for her Key Cents win to improve her bankroll to $130,808.

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