MATCHMAKER STAKES | PURSE: $150,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | FILLIES & MARES | GRADE 3 | 1 1/8 MILES
Calumet Farm's Starstruck made her stakes debut in the United States a winning one by capturing Sunday's Grade 3, $158,000 Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park as the 5-2 second choice.
The Larry Jones pupil was placed three wide within striking distance of pacesetter Minakshi, who posted splits of :25 ⅖, :50 ⅗ and 1:14 ⅘. Channel Lady, the 2-1 favorite, was lapped onto Minakshi.
Starstruck made her bid around the far turn, drawing even with Channel Lady, who also was looking to make a move. It looked like it would be the two betting favorites battling to the wire as Minakshi started to lose ground but Channel Lady suddenly faded in the stretch leaving Starstruck alone to come away victorious by 1 ¼ lengths.
Naples Bay rallied to grab second while Minakshi held on for third, another three-quarters of a length back. Julie's Love, Parranda, Channel Lady and Idle Talk rounded out the order of finish. Laughing was scratched after taking Saturday's Diana at Saratoga, and main-track-only Welcome Guest stayed in the barn.
Starstruck covered 1 ⅛ miles over the firm turf in 1:49 ⅕ with Rosie Napravnik aboard. She returned $7.60, $4.20 and $3 to her supporters and now has a career line which reads 11-3-2-1, $136,897.
Bred in Ireland by Mrs. C. L. Weld and originally trained by Dermot Weld, Starstruck started her career in her homeland last April. She took six tries to break her maiden, finally accomplishing that in a handicap over Dundalk's Polytrack in October. She next stepped up to stakes company in the Carlingford at the same course and about 1 5/16-mile trip and checked in a creditable fourth.
Subsequently acquired by Calumet, the chestnut made her first start in the United States on May 1 in an allowance at Churchill Downs, winning by 5 ¼ lengths. Her two ensuing starts likewise came on the Churchill turf, where she was second later that month in an optional claimer and third versus similar last time out on June 14.
The four-year-old daughter of Galileo is out of English highweight Agnetha, who ranked as the top three-year-old filly sprinter of 2002 on the strength of her victory in the King George at Goodwood. Agnetha is a full sister to German highweight sprinter and sire Areion as well as Irish Group 3-placed stakes scorer Anna Frid.
Starstruck sold for $141,363 at the Tattersalls October 2010 Yearling Sale.