Star Devine enjoys the wet lawn on fall days at Aqueduct

of Larry Goichman Star Becomes earned his second career stakes triumph with a dominant win for trainer Jorge Abreu in Sunday’s $150,000 Autumn days for fillies and mares 3 years and older, sprinting six furlongs on Aqueduct’s outdoor turf course.

The 4-year-old filly Fastnet Rock added to a Galway victory last year at Saratoga, where she moved from mid-pack to claim a narrow-head victory over Illegal Smile. Star Devine showed different tactics in the Fall Days and followed close to the pace under Jose Ortiz, pulling away from her rivals in the race to claim the 1 1/4 length victory.

Click here for entries and results for Aqueduct.

Star Devine broke well from pole no. 7 in the eight-horse field, going down to the three-horse track to chase the early leg of Athwaaq, who clocked the first quarter-mile in 23.05 seconds over the good leg. Star Devine got his nose in front as the field rounded the turn with Mail Order swinging four wide and advancing on the pace setters. Change of Control and Lady Edith started their bids from the middle and back of the pack respectively after a half mile in 46.83 seconds.

Star Devine was alone in the lead as the field moved to lead to the wire, but was threatened by Lady Edith and Change of Control as the pair moved forward with purpose down the center of the course. The change of control made her final attempt at the lead between the horses at the urging of jockey Colby Hernandez, but Star Devine still had enough to hold on for the win over her two opponents in a final time of 1:11.78.

The change of control secured a place by a length over Lady Edith, who held off stablemate Honey Pants by three-quarters of a length for third. Athwaaq, Gogo Shoes, Hit the Woah and Mail Order completed the finishing order. Stolen Holiday, Can’t Buy Love, Lemos Cunha and main track only participants Betsy Blue, Self Isolation, Snicket and Itsakeyper were scratched.

Abreu praised the ride of Ortiz, who rode Star Devine once before to a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G3) in September.

“Today, it seems the speed has held up. Jose knows her from before when he rode her at Kentucky Downs,” Abreu said. “I told him to warm it up pretty good and keep it in forward position just because of the way the track is being played today.

“Ray Handal went wire-to-wire with a girl a few races ago, so there wasn’t much to lose,” Abreu added of Sweetlou’sgotaces’ leading score in Tepin earlier on the card. “Everything went well. She’s only run a couple of bad races out of 10, so I can live with that.”

Although the green was billed as good, steady afternoon rain drenched the course and made it soggy, something Ortiz said wasn’t a problem for the talented golfer.

“It was very soft but broke well and handled well from the start. I was very pleased around the three-eighths pole,” Ortiz said. “She started running when I asked and I heard them (coming), but I was very confident that she had good pace and good drive. Of course, you never know for sure, and the two horses (Change of Control) is a very nice mare and I have a lot of respect for her. I felt he was behind me every step and I was a little worried around the quarter pole because he was closing in on me.

Star Devine entered the Fall Days off a seed when he was third in the Franklin (G3) on Oct. 16 at Keeneland. Earlier this season, she finished a close second to subsequent Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Caravel in June’s Intercontinental (G3) at Belmont Park. Star Devine collected $82,500 in the win and now boasts $313,165 in total purse earnings through a 10:3-2-2 record.

Bred in Ireland by Rockhart Trading, Star Devine was purchased for $258,109 at Tattersalls October Yearling 2019. She returned $8.40 for a $2 winning bet.

Abreu said Star Devine will have some time off in Florida going forward.

“He’ll go to the farm for 60 days and we’ll regroup next year and see how everything goes,” Abreu said. “She’ll go to Nick de Meric and we’ll bring her back to Palm Meadows and then we’ll get her on the road.”

The Michelle Lovell-trained Change of Control, who is closing in on millionaire status with earnings of $983,925, entered the Autumn Days looking to defend her title after going three-quarters of a length to Too Sexy last year . Hernandez said Fed Biz’s daughter gave it her all.

“He ran a really tough race in the lane,” Hernandez said. “She dug in and tried really hard, but every time she dug in she kind of wobbled on that soft turf. He ran a real game race. He put me in a perfect spot sitting right next to the leader and he tried really hard.”

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