MOLLY PITCHER | PURSE: $202,500 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | FILLIES & MARES | GRADE 2 | 1 1/16 MILES
Team Forster's Brushed by a Star took command of Sunday's Grade 2, $202,500 Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth Park soon after the gates opened and never relinquished her hold on the lead to post a 1 1/2-length victory over Successful Song. The bay daughter of Eddington was sent off the 9-1 fifth choice in the eight-distaffer field and rewarded her faithful backers with payouts of $21.20, $9 and $5.40.
Derwin's Star and Brushed by a Star both gunned for the front when the gates opened on the 1 1/16-mile affair, but Derwin's Star yielded while settling just inside and behind her rival on the backstretch. Brushed by a Star and jockey Corey Nakatani established reasonable splits of :24 1/5, :48 1/5 and 1:12 2/5 before coming off the rail exiting the turn.
That left the way clear for Derwin's Star, but the chestnut mare just couldn't keep pace in the lane as Brushed by a Star maintained her momentum. New challenges in the form of R Gypsy Gold and Successful Song suddenly surrounded the Grant Forster trainee, but Brushed by a Star shrugged them off while stopping the clock in 1:44 on the fast main track.
Successful Song, the 19-1 longest shot on the board, got second by a nose over 2-1 favorite R Gypsy Gold, and it was another four lengths back to Nefertini in fourth. Absinthe Minded, Afleeting Lady, Derwin's Star and Catch a Thief completed the order under the wire after Withgreatpleasure was scratched.
Brushed by a Star was making just her third start against black-type rivals in this spot, having run sixth in her stakes debut last November in the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap. The bay miss seems to have turned over a new leaf this year, running second in her four-year-old bow on May 12 at Churchill Downs before taking an allowance under the Twin Spires on June 10. The Kentucky-bred filly entered this one off a romping 11-length score in the Iowa Distaff at Prairie Meadows just 19 days after her allowance victory.
Bred by Ryan Desmond and Barry & Ken Donworth, Brushed by a Star improved her scorecard to 5-4-2 from 16 career starts and boosted her lifetime earnings to $304,087. That's more than paid for her $10,000 purchase price as a Keeneland September yearling in 2009.
The four-year-old lass is out of the winning Broad Brush mare Brush Hour, making her a half-sister to Puerto Rican champion Thethiefatmidnight. Brushed by a Star counts as her third dam the Nijinsky II mare Street Ballet, who won a listed event at Santa Anita and placed in a pair of Grade 1s during her time on track.
That bay mare really made an impact once entering the breeding shed, foaling Swiss champion and Group 3-winning sire Street Rebel, 2003 Grade 1 Japan Cup Dirt conqueror Fleetstreet Dancer and Grade 3-placed multiple stakes-scoring stallion Ponche. Street Ballet is the granddam of Canadian champion sprinter Apelia, who produced fellow Canadian champion Saoirse and Grade 2 heroine More Happy.
Others of note in this female family include Grade 1 hero Royal and Regal and multiple stakes-winning track-record setter Street Dancer, who is a full sister to 1966 Kentucky Oaks queen Native Street, granddam of dual Grade 1 victor River Special and third dam of Peruvian Group 1-winning champion Black Coffey.