Sharp Starr (Munnings) winning the  Empire Distaff Handicap at Belmont Park

Munnings' Sharp Starr Wins Empire Distaff

It was a fourth October stakes winner for Munnings on Saturday when his Grade III winner Sharp Starr (4f Munnings x Mindy Gold, by A.P. Indy) added a second stakes win to her record in the Empire Distaff Handicap at Belmont Park.

A homebred for Barry Schwartz, the Horacio DePaz-trained runner didn’t mind the sealed track in the 1 1/16 mile race and settled in the back of the field to watch the race unfold in front of her. In the stretch, she showed why she has four wins when she rolled past Make Mischief to take the lead.

The Munnings daughter was alone at the line, winning by 3 ¼ lengths in only her second start since April.

“It was good to see her come back to form,” DePaz said. “We’ve always liked her. We just started her back up. We gave her a little break during the summer and now she’s back. She was competitive in the race at Saratoga (in August), it was just a tough field and going seven-eighths up there, she was a little bit closer to the pace than we thought she would be. She probably just needed the race and she was training really well into this race. I was hopeful that she would come back to form.”

Sharp Starr has proven to be a stakes level filly for most of her career with top three finishes in four of her six blacktype starts. DePaz said it is possible she’ll be defending her Grade III Go For Wand win in December if she comes out of this race well.

Sharp Starr is a half-sister to the stakes-placed Papa Shot and out of a half-sister to Grade I-placed Noble Causeway. Her third dam is the three-time Grade I winner Classy Cathy, who produced Group II winner Placerville.

Sharp Starr was joined by Letsgetlucky as impressive winners for Munnings on Saturday. Letsgetlucky took out an Allowance Optional Claimer at Santa Anita by 3 1/2 lengths. It was the gelding's sixth top three finish in six starts.

Munnings’ 18 blacktype winners in 2021 is second best of all North American stallions with his 35 the third best. The stallion’s runners include Grade I winners Kimari and Jack Christopher, with both set to run in next week’s Breeders’ Cup.