07/29/2012 5:10PM

Monmouth Park: Brushed by a Star leads all the way in Molly Pitcher Stakes

Nikki Sherman
Brushed by a Star scores a gate-to-wire victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes.

OCEANPORT, N.Y. – Corey Nakatani thought Brushed by a Star might be something special the first time he rode the filly last fall at Churchill Downs.

She has done nothing since to dispel that notion.

Sunday, taking a step up in class after an 11-length romp in the Iowa Distaff last month, Brushed by a Star went to the front under Nakatani and led all the way to take the Grade 2, $200,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths at Monmouth Park.

Successful Song, the longest shot on the board at 19-1, rallied to get second by a nose over R Gypsy Gold, the 2-1 favorite. They were followed in the order of finish by Nefertini, Absinthe Minded, Afleeting Lady, Derwin’s Star, and Catch a Thief.

It was the third consecutive victory for Brushed by a Star, a 4-year-old daughter of Eddington trained by Grant Forster and owned by Forster and friends who race under the banner Team Forster.

“She just keeps getting better and better,” Forster said. “We were taking on a big step today, but she’s a 4-year-old who’s come back better than ever. When they’re on a roll, take a shot. We felt confident going into the race she could run 1-2-3.”

Nakatani first rode Brushed by a Star last November in a first-level allowance race at Churchill Downs, winning the race in the slop by seven lengths. He didn’t ride her again until June 10, when she won a second-level allowance at Churchill and the Iowa Distaff on June 29.

“The first time I rode this filly at Churchill, she run huge and I told him this filly could develop into something special,” Nakatani said. “She’s really big and rangy, she did something [that night] she’s not supposed to be doing.”

Nakatani was impressed in the Iowa Distaff, because it was run on mud and at night, and Brushed by a Star was undeterred. He told Forster to make sure he called him when he picked the next spot, because Nakatani wanted to be aboard.

In the Molly Pitcher, Nakatani put Brushed by a Star on the lead, and she set fractions of 24.23 seconds for the quarter, 48.33 for the half, and 1:12.46 for six furlongs. She had something left when challenged in upper stretch and persevered to the wire under a vigorous hand ride.

Brushed by a Star covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.15 over a fast track and returned $21.20 to win.

“The key to her is you stay out of her way, be a quiet passenger,” said Nakatani, who is 3 for 3 on the filly. “We get along good, and Grant’s been a pleasure to ride for.”

Forster said the plan coming in was if Brushed by a Star won this race, she would be considered for the Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign at Saratoga on Aug. 26.