By Rab Hagin
Unleashing a sub-34-second final three-furlong rally, FOURSTAR CROOK ($813,166) overtook seven stakes-winning rivals – including three Grade 1 victors – to win the Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf on Saturday, March 10, making Tampa Bay Downs the 28th track at which offspring of FREUD have won stakes. Her impressive effort off a five-month layoff against nine turf stakes-winning fillies and mares – six of them graded winners and three of those Grade 1 victors – elevated her to the top of the North American turf distaff division.
The following day and about 2,800 miles due south, Argentine-bred CHARPENTIER became Freud’s 59th stakes winner when he romped to a 5¼-length victory in the listed Clasico Galeno at 1,600 meters (about a mile) on dirt at Monterrico in Lima, Peru for his first tally at that distance. It was Charpentier’s second consecutive score in 15 days at Monterrico and his fifth victory overall at four different distances in Peru and Argentina, ranging from a straightaway 1,000 meters (about five furlongs) to 1,600 meters.
Fourstar Crook, winner of ten of her last 12 starts, including two graded stakes, races for Michael Dubb, Michael J. Caruso’s Bethlehem Stables LLC, and Gary Aisquith. Charpentier races for Dona Licha Stable.
Fourstar Crook’s jockey in the Hillsborough, Irad Ortiz Jr., acknowledged he had been concerned about the quality of the field his mount was facing: “She broke good, and I just stayed on the rail…had to have a good trip to beat this field. She is getting better and better…when I tipped her out, she gave me a good kick… When we got to the eighth pole (at which point Fourstar Crook was fifth, 3½ lengths behind the leading eventual runner-up), I didn’t know if we were going to get there, but…she got the job done.”
Winning trainer Chad Brown pointed out that in Fourstar Crook’s previous start prior to her customary winter layoff, a third-placing among seven in Woodbine’s Grade 1 E. P. Taylor Stakes at 1¼ miles under rain and on very soft turf on October 15, she had struggled with the footing. “She prefers firm turf (although Fourstar Crook has twice won stakes on yielding courses), so I thought that (the E. P. Taylor) was a good effort. She’s a good mare and very consistent. She ran terrific today.”
Freud’s other early March winners – both by huge margins at 6½ furlongs around two turns on dirt on Saturday evening (under lights), March 3 – include his sons CEREBRAL ($135,642) under top weight at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town and JOEY B from the outside post among ten at Delta Downs. Both were favored. Cerebral, a Maryland-bred owned by Darren Viands, scored by eight lengths – biggest winning margin on the card – for his second win in 38 days and third consecutive tally since November. Joey B, a Kentucky-bred owned and trained by Karl Broberg, romped by 10¼ lengths – biggest winning margin on Delta Downs’ card – at odds-on for his second big-margin victory against nine in 37 days.
Days prior to Charpentier’s victory, Freud’s Argentine-breds won on Buenos Aires dirt tracks: daughter CASSERUOLA at 2,000 meters (about 1¼ miles) at Palermo, March 5; son LOCO ROMA at 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) at La Plata, March 6; son WORLD GURU at 1,200 meters at San Isidro, March 7. Casseruola, owned by Wiber Stable, won by four lengths against seven rivals in her first 2,000-meter effort. Unbeaten Loco Roma, racing for El Bochinche Stable, won by two lengths as the favorite and only second-time starter among 16 runners and looks incredibly talented. World Guru, who races for Tresiete Stable and holds Palermo’s 1,400-meter (about seven furlongs) turf course record of 1:19.57 set last October, dropped back to 1,200 meters on dirt and prevailed despite being pinched back at the start.
Freud’s latest Argentine-bred winner is the super-competitive and still-green DAHLI DEBOSS, who won by four lengths from the outside post among seven at Palermo on Monday, March 12 – her second victory in 16 days, first effort on dirt, and first venture beyond 1,200 meters in three starts. Racing for Ferre Stable, the 3-year-old filly appears to be exceptionally fast, overcoming her sometimes rank nature (which probably thwarted victory in her debut at San Isidro in January) and hesitancy to switch leads.
Three of Freud’s offspring placed in black-type races in early March: multiple stakes winner THERAPIST, third in Gulfstream Park’s graded Palm Beach, March 3; and Argentine-breds KEY DANCE, second under top weight in a Group 2 event on San Isidro turf, and FIORAVANTTI, third behind Charpentier – both on March 11. Therapist, a late-foaled (May 22, 2015) 3-year-old colt and homebred multiple open stakes winner for Oak Bluff Stable, was coming off an 18-week winter layoff as the only Palm Beach starter that had not previously raced in 2018. Unsettled at the gate after a rival in the starting stall outside him had acted up, Therapist was restrained along the rail for most of the contest, but once he got outside in mid-stretch, he was moving fastest of all. Key Dance, Santa Ines Stable’s star distaff miler (1,600 meters) coming off a 33-week layoff, was top-weighted under 132 pounds in San Isidro’s Group 2 Ricardo Ezequiel y Ezequiel M. Fernandez – a 1,600-meter event she had won in 2017 – and spotting ten pounds to a heavily-favored Group 1-winning rival. That rival was coupled with a front-running Group 2 turf-winning “rabbit” who pushed Key Dance to a 21.91 second quarter-mile (400 meters) split around the turn, after which Key Dance led to about 3/16ths of a mile from the finish. Fioravantti, who like Charpentier races for Dona Licha Stable, has won at four different distances and went into the listed Galeno off consecutive 2018 victories on dirt and turf, missing second by a hard-fought neck to register his second placed effort in a listed mile event since mid-January.
Freud is the leading New York-based sire in Northern Hemisphere 2018 progeny earnings through March 11, having already topped $1-million for 2018, with cumulative progeny earnings over $50.6-million.