Starformer Easy Winner of The Very One Stakes
Juddmonte Farm’s 5-year-old Kentucky homebred mare Starformer, making her first start since a wire-to-wire victory in the Long Island Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct in November, was much the best Saturday scoring a 3 1/4 lengths victory over Angegreen in the $100,000 The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Ridden by Edgar Prado for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Starformer, the 3-2 favorite, took a comfortable stalking position in third early in the race run over ground rated ‘good’ until swinging out around the leaders in the upper stretch before drawing clear in the field of eight fillies and mares.
A daughter of Dynaformer, Starformer began her career in France winning one of three starts as a 3-year-old in 2011 before being sent to Mott that summer. She hit her best stride last year with three wins and two seconds in seven starts, including her first Graded stakes score in the 11-furlong R.G. Dick Memorial (G3) at Delaware Park in mid-July.
“We knew she was one of three horses in the race with speed and she fell into a good position third,” said Mott. “She got a great trip. She came to us as a 3-year-old and was a little disappointing running in her first few races for us at a mile or a little more, and seemed to get in trouble.
“After we stretched her out to 11 furlongs or more she seems to like that a lot better. The Orchid (G3) is here (March 30) and I guess that will be next for her.”
"The instructions coming into this race were to play it by ear and see what happens,” said Prado. “If they decided to go, we'd lay back or go nice and easy to the lead if that was the case. I sat right behind the lead and waited.
“She was happy and relaxed and when I let her go around the turn. She gave me a nice, beautiful move as we tried to find the best part of the track. She's a very game filly and shows up every time. I'm very proud of her. We ran on fresh ground with it raining hard the past few days, but they kept the track in good shape, which is a plus."
Starformer paid $5 for $2 to win and was timed in 2:18:03. Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Beijoca finished third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up.