05/29/2017 4:29PM

Fourstar Crook notches seventh victory in row

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Viola Jasko/NYRA
Fourstar Crook wins the Mount Vernon Stakes on Monday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Just win, baby!

The phrase, coined by Al Davis, the late owner of the NFL's Oakland Raiders, is an equally apropos motto for the New York-bred turf filly Fourstar Crook, who ran her winning streak to seven straight with a three-quarter-length victory over stablemate Ack Naughty in Monday’s $125,000 Mount Vernon Stakes for New  York-bred fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

Despite being shuffled back to last down the backside, coming off an eight-month layoff and racing over yielding turf, Fourstar Crook came with a strong late kick to run down Ack Naughty in deep stretch. It was 3 1/2 lengths back to Freudie Anne in third. Ancient Secret, Flipcup, Louisville First and Free N Clear completed the order of finish.

“I was confident she’d handle the soft ground, but off a layoff and only going a mile was concerning,” winning trainer Chad Brown said. “But she showed her class and consistency again.”

Fourstar Crook, under Javier Castellano, was fourth after an opening quarter-mile run in 24.14 seconds by Freudie Anne. But the three runners behind Fourstar Crook all seemed to move simultaneously and Fourstar Crook was last, but only about five lengths back after a half-mile.

Castellano waited until the top of the stretch to move; he put Fourstar Crook five wide and in the clear turning for home. Meanwhile, Ack Naughty, also trained by Brown and ridden by Joel Rosario, found a large opening in the three path turning for home and got the jump on Fourstar Crook. But the latter reeled in Ack Naughty late for the victory.

Fourstar Crook, a 5-year-old daughter of Freud owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and Gary Aisquith, covered the mile in 1:37.33 over yielding turf and returned $4.40 as the 6-5 favorite.

“I let her settle and let her pick it up little by little,” Castellano said. “She’s a special filly. Firm, soft, you can put her wherever you want and she always kicks.”

Brown was also pleased with Ack Naughty, who was entered in the race late as she still has her second-level New York-bred allowance condition available.

“Ack Naughty ran terrific,” Brown said. “It was a last-minute decision to run her in here and she nearly pulled it off.”

Brown also ran fourth with Ancient Secret, the reigning New York-bred female turf champion. Brown said he didn’t think Ancient Secret handled the soft turf and will try to run her on firm ground moving forward.