Stonewall Star romps in Laurel’s Wide Country

Saturday, February 18th, 2023

Stonewall Star adds the Wide Country Stakes to her growing resume Saturday at Laurel. Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club Photo.

Horacio De Paz figured Stonewall Star deserved another shot at an open-company stakes win after her second victory over state-breds last month. He considered next month’s East View – another stakes for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies – but figured the “timing was right” to return to Maryland for another shot at an open stakes.

Stonewall Star not only returned to the Free State but came away with that open score with a front-running romp in the $100,000 Wide Country to kick off the stakes portion of the Winter Carnival card at Laurel Park. Barry Schwartz’s homebred daughter of Flatter went to the front from the break under Angel Crus and cruised to an 11-length victory over Chickieness in the 7-furlong Wide Country. Stonewall Star won in 1:24.33 over the fast main track.

“I always thought she could run in open company,” De Paz said after Stonewall Star improved to 4-for-7 in her career.

Stonewall Star added the Wide Country to her prior stakes wins in the Jan. 22 Franklin Square and Nov. 20 Key Cents, both at Aqueduct, and bettered her previous effort in Maryland when third between those victories in the Gin Talking Dec. 30 at Laurel. She also boosted her bankroll to $255,808.

“She’s pretty straightforward. She likes to run on the lead, just try not to go too quick too early,” DePaz said. “She’s just in good form right now. … Mentally she’s just really in the zone right now.”

Stonewall Star went to the post as the 9-5 second choice in the field of six behind the 8-5 pick L Street Lady, who was coming off a victory over fellow Wide Country runners Chickieness and We’ll See in the Jan. 21 Xtra Heat Stakes at Laurel. Stonewall Star broke sharp from the outside post, withstood a bump from We’ll See and cleared to lead L Street Lady by a half-length through the opening quarter in :23.07.

Stonewall Star continued to lead by a length over L Street Leady heading into the far turn and to the half in :46.42, with Chickieness and Gormley’s Gabriela just behind. Cruz gave Stonewall Star her cue turning for home and she opened up as L Street Lady faded and Chickieness and Gormley’s Gabriela idled.

Stonewall Star turned the Wide Country into a runaway, winning by 11 lengths under Angel Cruz. Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club Photo.

A 5-length advantage in midstretch grew with every stride and Stonewall Star finished well clear at the finish. Chickieness finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Gormley’s Gabriela for the place spot, with We’ll See, Sally’s Sassy and L Street Lady completing the lineup.

“I thought they would press her a little bit more,” DePaz said. “That was my concern because the last time with the seven-eighths she was on the lead and took everybody on and just came up short that last sixteenth. But today, she was right.

“The question is how far she would go, and she handled the 7 perfectly fine. We’ll continue to let her tell us. We’ll go back to New York and maybe back to Maryland. She’s got options, that’s for sure.”

Bred and foaled at Schwartz’s Stonewall Farm in Granite Springs, Stonewall Star is the fourth foal and one of two stakes winners out of 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 4-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.

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.

Leave a Reply