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Film Star Set for Leading Role in Forty Niner

There are several layers to the success that has catapulted Linda Rice to five straight training titles at New York Racing Association meets.

One of them can be seen in the 4-year-old colt Film Star .

The son of Flatter was one of a number of horses claimed in Kentucky by Rice and then shipped to the Empire State, where they immediately made their mark.

In the case of Ronald Stewart’s Film Star, he was claimed away from trainer Brad Cox for $75,000 out of an April 19 win at Keeneland and since then, in eight starts for Rice, has two wins and six seconds with earnings of slightly more than $300,000.

“It’s been a good route for us, particularly with this horse,” the New York-based Rice said about claiming in Kentucky, where rules were recently changed, largely because of Rice’s savvy use of the claim box, to prohibit horses from racing outside of Kentucky for 60 days after a claim. “I’ve run a few horses down there. Racing in Kentucky is great. The purse structure is great. I may expand my stable a bit and if I do it will be in Kentucky.”

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As for Film Star, on the heels of a runner-up finish in the Woodward Stakes (G2), he’ll play a starring role Oct. 28 in the $300,000 Forty Niner Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack, a one-turn mile test that was previously named the Kelso Stakes (G2).

Zandon ran by him in the Woodward, but he’s a pretty good horse and is going to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) off that race. So, it’s no shame in being beaten by him,” Rice said. “Film Star has been very consistent all along. He’s only a 4-year-old and has a beautiful pedigree. I think he’s improving all the time.”

Rice also entered Film Star in the Fayette Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, also on Saturday, but said he would run at Aqueduct.

“If there’s a choice, I’ll always prefer to stay home,” Rice said.

The Oct. 1 Woodward, in which Film Star finished 4 1/4 lengths behind grade 1 winner Zandon  , was the colt’s 15th start and first in a stakes. He earned his spot in the field off a pair of front-running wins at Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct by a combined margin of nine lengths.

In the two-turn 1 1/8-mile Woodward, he pressed the pace of longshot Pipeline and the son of the Hard Spun   mare Rebelle bred by Indian Creek and Mill Pond Bloodstock held a half-length lead at the eighth pole but could not fend off the closing kick of Zandon.

His early speed figures to be challenged Saturday by two of the main threats in the field of eight for the renamed stakes, Accretive  and Everso Mischievous .

Accretive, owned by Klaravich Stables and trained by Chad Brown, was second by 1 1/2 lengths to multiple grade 1 winner and Horse of the Year candidate Cody’s Wish   in the seven-furlong Vosburgh (G2) on the same Oct. 1 card as the Woodward. The 4-year-old Practical Joke   gelding, who set the pace in the Vosburgh, was second last year in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) and has been either first or second in five of six career starts.

Qatar Racing’s Everso Mischievous has three wins and two seconds in five starts. The Into Mischief   3-year-old has won his last two stars, topped by a 3 1/4-length score in the Sept. 23 seven-furlong Harrods Creek Stakes while making his stakes debut.

Entries: Forty Niner S. (G2)

Belmont at the Big A, Saturday, October 28, 2023, Race 10

  • Grade II
  • 1m
  • Dirt
  • $300,000
  • 3 yo’s & up
  • 4:53 PM (local)

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