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Cluster of Stars Ready for Graded Ranks

Turtle Bird Stable’s Cluster of Stars, who notched her fourth straight victory on March 14 with a 9 ¼-length score in an optional claimer, is scheduled to make her first graded stakes start next Saturday in the 59th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff Handicap.


The six-furlong Distaff is the final stakes of the Aqueduct spring meet, with racing concluding on April 21 before moving to Belmont Park on April 26.


Trained by Steve Asmussen, Cluster of Stars broke her maiden by 5 ½ lengths last February, returned 11 months later to win an allowance by 6 ¼ lengths and next beat multiple graded stakes winner and odds-on favorite Nicole H in the Correction Handicap.


Also pointing to the Distaff, according to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, are Hearts of Red, most recently sixth in the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl at Gulfstream Park, and Villanesca, exiting a 1 ¾-length optional claiming win on March 1. Silverette, winner of three of her last four starts, and Spectacular Sky, runner-up in the Grade 2 Inside Information at Gulfstream last time out, are possible.




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