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OZONE PARK, NY – Barry Schwartz’s Sharp Starr took a narrow lead in deep stretch and prevailed through to the wire in Saturday’s $100,000 Go for Wand Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct.
Sharp Starr broke well from post 3 under Jose Ortiz and settled into a stalking position 3 lanes off the rail and in the clear of any kickback while Portal Creek posted opening fractions of :23.26, :46.72, and 1:11.52.
Making her bid off the far turn, Sharp Starr began advancing up alongside Portal Creek, but the pacesetter dug in and fought back.
Inching up in the late stages to take a tiny lead, the Horacio DePaz trainee held her advantage until crossing a neck clear while completing the one-turn mile on the sloppy main track in 1:36.75.
“They were running her two turns and she was breaking a little slow,” Ortiz said. “Last time, when they brought her back to a one-turn mile, she broke well and that suited her better. They stuck with that racing style today. She broke sharp. She was there for me every time I asked her.”
It was a whopping 12 lengths back to Nonna Madeline, who shared 6/5 favoritism with the winner and took third by a 1/2-length ahead of Stand for the Flag.
Completing the order of finish came Graceful Princess and Overheated.
Sharp Starr’s win was her first at the stakes level and improved her overall record to 9-3-2-2. The New York-bred 3-year-old Munnings filly has now earned $174,015.
“She definitely likes the track, but I think she likes the one-turn mile a little bit better,” DePaz said. “Even in her two-turn races, she wants to put herself there, but she has those bad starts, and afterwards, she can’t get up there. She’s breaking so much better and getting herself into the race. The way she breaks and gets herself close, she’s able to finish up nicely.”
Sharp Starr returned $4.50 to win, $3.30 to place, and $2.30 to show. Portal Creek brought back $6.30 to place and $3 to show, while Nonna Madeline paid $2.10 to show.
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