OCEANPORT – If Premier Star’s solid showing in his last race wasn’t enough to convince trainer Michael Trombetta the colt was sitting on a breakout performance, his recent works erased any doubts.
Those two indicators proved to be spot on.
Able to squeeze through an opening after three-eighths of a mile to take the lead, Premier Star powered his way to an impressive four-and-three-quarter-length victory in the $100,000 Jersey Shore Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park on Oct. 14, according to a press release.
One race after finishing four lengths behind Yaupon, a top contender for the Breeders’ Cup Spring trained by Steve Asmussen, and two lengths behind multiple Grade 1 winner Basin in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga on Aug. 29, Premier Star dispatched his six rivals with ease.
The winning time for the six furlongs was a sharp 1:09.61.
“This horse has trained really well,” said Trombetta. “I was a little concerned when (Paco) squeezed up the inside and it looked like he might have room, and then you’re thinking maybe not, but he was able to get through and grab the spot and the lead, which he wanted. He’s a pretty fast horse. These type of horses don’t like to be checked or steadied. They just don’t recover from that a lot of times. I’m glad (Paco) was able to make it work.
“As tough as his last race was and as well as he ran in my mind that day, they still have to run. Every horse race is a different race. A lot of things have to go right to win them. Today was his day.”
Owned by Sonata Stable, the son of Tapiture improved to 4-for-7 lifetime with his first stakes score. Longshot Johnny Ritt held second, a neck ahead of Meru.
Lopez made the winning move by squeezing through an opening down the backside as Johnny Ritt and As Seen On TV dueled through an opening quarter of :22.09, with Premier Star just off of them.
“He’s a big horse and a couple of them broke faster than he did, but he was running once he got going,” said Lopez. “I guess it was about the three-eighths that I had to decide to go outside or inside and I saw room on the rail and I took it and he went right to the lead. He was very strong today.”
Once Premier Star made the lead, he started extending his advantage through an opening half in :44.74. He returned $4.20 to win.
“I knew he ran against some monsters last race, but I was surprised the instructions were to send him. But they know him. They know how he likes to race,” said Lopez. “Once he made the lead no one was catching him.”
Premier Star now has two wins and a third in the four starts for Trombetta, who took over the horse’s training from Jorge Navarro this spring.
Racing resumes at Monmouth Park with a 10-race card on Saturday, Oct. 17. First race post time is 12:50 p.m., according to the press release.