Updated on 09/15/2011 1:37PM

Starrer ends year with Bayakoa win

Michael J. Marten
Starrer edges away late to take a one-length decision over Queenie Belle in Saturday's Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - After a season occasionally plagued by difficult luck, Starrer ended her 3-year-old campaign on Sunday with a hard-fought win in Saturday's $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap* (click here for chart) at Hollywood Park.

Scoring her second stakes win of the year, Starrer prevailed in a stretch-long duel against Queenie Belle. The Grade 2 Dahlia came six months after Starrer won the Grade 2 Princess Stakes over this same track.

In between those stakes wins, she unseated jockey Chris McCarron at the start of the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park, finished second in the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland and fifth in both the Gazelle Handicap and Breeders' Cup Distaff on Oct. 26. In the Breeders' Cup, McCarron lost his whip at the top of the stretch.

Starrer was the 4-5 favorite in the Bayakoa and was ridden for the first time by Jerry Bailey.

Third early while racing wide, Starrer stalked pacesetter Minor Details through fractions of 23.88 and 47.59 seconds before disputing the lead at the three-eighths pole.

With Queenie Belle and Feverish to her inside, Starrer battled for the lead on the final turn, drawing within a half-length of Queenie Belle. Feverish faded from contention in early stretch, leaving Queenie Belle, racing on the rail, and Starrer together on the lead. Queenie Belle led narrowly in midstretch, but Starrer had her measure, winning by a length.

"When we pulled a half-length, I thought we had it," said Ben Cecil, who trains Queenie Belle.

Starrer finished 1 1/16 miles on dirt in 1:42.52.

"She relaxed well," Bailey said. "She got to her pretty easily, but she was playing around for a while."

A winner of three of 12 starts and $433,033, Starrer is owned by George Krikorian and trained by David Hofmans.

Queenie Belle finished 3 1/2 lengths in front of Tropical Lazy, who was followed by Cee Dreams, Feverish, Critikola and Minor Details.

Owner Marty Wygod said after the race that Feverish, a winner of 12 of 42 starts and $908,953, has been retired. The winner of the 2000 Bayakoa, Feverish will be bred to Bertrando, the top stallion in California.

Bayakoa Handicap Chart*

* Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.