After a 3-year-old season of good
but not great racing last year, Monmouth-based trainer Grant Forster decided his
filly Brushed by a Star might
benefit from taking a long winter vacation.
“We figured we’d give her time
off and see what she can grow into,” Forster said. “She’s a very big filly,
close to 17 hands, and we always thought she’d be better with age. She was kind
of like a 6-foot-6, 13-year-old high school basketball player last year.”
Forster clearly knew what he was
doing, and now he has a horse who previously struggled to get through
first-level allowance conditions running at Saratoga on August 26 in the Grade
1, $600,000 Personal Ensign Invitational, a “Win and You’re In” race for the
Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic.
Brushed by a Star, a daughter of
Eddington out of the Broad Brush mare Brush Hour, won just once in 11 starts
last year. She began her 4-year-old campaign with a second-place finish in a
sprint at Churchill Downs and since has reeled off three authoritative
The most recent two were
front-running scores in the Iowa Distaff at Prairie Meadows and then a 1
½-length win the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher on July 29 at Monmouth Park.
Not only has Brushed by a Star
begun to win, she has been getting to the lead quickly and running away from the
“Her race in Monmouth [on July 2,
2011] when she finished second, Channing Hill gave her a really good, strong
gallop warming up, and she was closer up that day,” Forster said. “Other horses
may be quicker from the gate, but she comes out of the turn and is on top.”
With the formidable speedster
Love and Pride, trained by Todd Pletcher, signed up for the Personal Ensign,
Forster believes his filly likely will lay off the pace “and at some point take
on Love and Pride on the backstretch.
“Hopefully, she can continue to
keep going up, up, up,” he said. “We’re going way up this time. She always
hinted at being a lot better. She’s obviously trained strong and her confidence
is sky-high. We’re not excited about running against Royal Delta, but it’s
probably going to be a small field and a big chance to get a Grade 1
Owned by Team Forster, a group
that includes ex-NHL goaltender Gary “Suitcase”
Smith, Brushed by a Star will arrive at Saratoga on Monday and stay in the barn of
trainer Eoin Harty.