Fourstar Crook Gets Up On The Wire In Hillsborough

Michael Dubb, Gary Aisguith and Bethlehem Stables’ Fourstar Crook recorded her second graded stakes victory in Saturday’s Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, flying down the center of the course to win by a head at the wire. The 6-year-old Freud mare, ridden by the red-hot Irad Ortiz, Jr., covered nine furlongs over the firm turf course in 1:48.43. Trained by Chad Brown, Fourstar Crook was off at odds of 7-2; 2-1 favorite Off Limits finished fifth.

An objection was held into the finish of the Hillsborough, with Julien Leparoux aboard Daddys Lil Darling (fourth) claiming foul against Jose Ortiz and Proctor’s Ledge (second). The stewards made no change to the order of finish: Fourstar Crook, Proctor’s Ledge, La Coronel, Daddys Lil Darling, and Off Limits.

Fourstar Crook broke well from the third stall in the field of 10 fillies and mares, moving over against the inside rail heading toward the wire for the first time. She maintained that inside position tucked behind horses down the backstretch, Ortiz tracking the relatively mild pace set by longshot Dynatail. Fractions were :24.26 and :49.45 for the earliest part of the race, during which Dynatail led by as much as two lengths.

Behind Dynatail were Lovely Loyree, La Coronel and Proctor’s Ledge, and all of those started to encroach on the leader after six furlongs in 1:13.14. Meanwhile, Ortiz angled out one path off the rail to go around a pair of rivals, then waited until the stretch run to make his final move with Fourstar Crook.

Lovely Loyree briefly took the lead, but Proctor’s Ledge grabbed command at the head of the lane with authoritative strides. She was two lengths clear of the field when, in the final eighth of a mile, Fourstar Crook was unleashed. Ortiz had timed her rally perfectly, and Fourstar Crook put her head in front just as the field crossed under the wire. Proctor’s Ledge had to settle for second, while La Coronel was a troubled third over Daddys Lil Darling. Favorite Off Limits finished fifth.

“She broke so good and I just stayed on the rail to save all the ground I could, because I knew I had to have a good trip to beat this field,” said Ortiz. “She is getting better and better every time. I just saved ground and when I tipped her out, she gave me a good kick in the end. When we got to the eighth pole I didn’t know if we were going to get there, but I just kept riding my horse hard and she got the job done.”

Bred in New York by Kathleen M. Feron, Fourstar Crook was a $110,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale. She took a couple starts to get going, but put together an eight-race win streak after breaking her maiden. Since then, the mare has been no worse than third, and the Hillsborough is her second graded victory. Overall, Fourstar Crook boasts a record of 10 wins from 15 starts for earnings of over $800,000.

“She prefers firm turf, and it was soft (when she finished third in the Grade I E. P. Taylor last October at Woodbine), so I thought that was a good effort,” said Brown. “She’s a good mare and very consistent. She ran terrific today.”

The post Fourstar Crook Gets Up On The Wire In Hillsborough appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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