ELMONT, NY – Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and Gary Aisquith’s Fourstar Crook took command from her Chad Brown stablemate Onthemoonagain in the stretch and blossomed beautifully to win Sunday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl Stakes at Belmont Park.
The Flower Bowl is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Fourstar Crook receiving an automatic berth in the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 3.
Breaking from the outside post 7 under Irad Ortiz, Jr., as the 4/5 favorite, Fourstar Crook took her usual place at the rear as the field entered the first turn while Tricky Escape and Feeling Bossy dueled through tepid early fractions of :25.71, :51.72, and 1:15.80. Onthemoonagain made her move for the lead as the field entered the far turn, while behind her, a wall of horses forced Fourstar Crook to wait for a hole to appear. Onthemoonagain took command at the top of the stretch and began to draw off, but a hole soon emerged for Fourstar Crook and she blew right through it. Collaring the familiar leader in midstretch, Fourstar Crook employed her signature strong kick to blow past and run off late, winning by 2 easy lengths in a final time of 2:03.28 for the 10-furlong event over the good inner turf course.
“She flew home,” said Ortiz, Jr. “She was going so comfortable, and when I asked, she just exploded.”
Onthemoonagain was nearly 5 lengths clear of Lady Montdore, who took third by a similar margin over Danceland. Feeling Bossy and Tricky Escape faded to fifth and sixth, respectively, while Holy Helena never seemed to find her footing and completed the order of finish while never factoring into the race.
Fourstar Crook’s win was her seventh in eight career starts at Belmont Park (losing only her maiden debut on October 10, 2014) and improved her record to 19-12-4-1. The New York-bred 6-year-old daughter of Freud increased her lifetime earnings to $1,604,566 and will point to her first career Breeders’ Cup start next month.
“This horse ran super,” Brown said. “We expected a short field and that the pace wouldn’t be that strong, and it wasn’t, but she was able to overcome it. She’s a really consistent horse and she particularly likes Belmont. She ran to her odds. She seemed very deserving to finally win a Grade 1. When you look at who she’s beaten when she’s not in Grade 1s, and who she’s lost to by short margins, this filly is very deserving to finally achieve that, and remarkable at age 6.”
Fourstar Crook returned $3.60 to win, $2.50 to place, and $2.10 to show. Onthemoonagain brought back $3.90 to place and $2.90 to show, while Lady Montdore paid $2.80 to show.