07/28/2013 1:41PM

Monmouth Park: Starstruck gets first U.S. stakes win in Matchmaker

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Starstruck, ridden by Rosie Napravnik, wins Sunday's Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Trainer Larry Jones put the blinkers back on, and Starstruck responded with her first U.S. stakes victory in the Grade 3, $158,000 Matchmaker for fillies and mares on turf Sunday at Monmouth Park.

After stalking the pace set by Minakshi, Starstruck and jockey Rosie Napravnik made their move on the final turn. Four wide into the lane, Starstruck battled for command before edging clear late.

A 4-year-old bred in Ireland, Starstruck beat Naples Bay by 1 1/4 lengths, with Minakshi holding on for third.

Starstruck had run three times at Churchill Downs since joining the Jones barn, with a win, a second, and a third in allowance races.

“She didn’t like the soft turf she was catching in Europe, and we figured she’d like the firmer turf,” Jones said. “We’ve tried to figure her out a little bit. Hopefully, we’re finally getting all the keys going together.”

Starstruck is 3 for 11. She ran the 1 1/8 miles on the firm course in 1:49.27 and paid $7.60 to win as the 5-2 second choice.

Julie’s Love was fourth, followed by Parranda, Channel Lady, the 2-1 favorite, and Idle Talk.