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Ideal Star N shines in North American debut at Plainridge

September 14, 2020

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He made his last start in Australia on June 26. Now just 11 weeks later, Ideal Star N had a career day at Plainridge Park as he won the $15,000 winners-over handicap on Monday.   
Major Leaguer (Nick Graffam) took command of the race and led the field unaccosted to the half in :55.2. Then in the second turn, JK Will Power (Mitchell Cushing) pulled first over followed by Moonshine Kisses (Phil Fluet) and Ideal Star N (Shawn Gray). The outer flow started to slow at three-quarters and that's when Gray tipped Ideal Star N three-deep into the last turn. He took the lead in deep stretch and pulled away to a length advantage at the wire in 1:51.3. 
It was the first North American win for Ideal Star N ($12.20) and a new lifetime mark. Owned by the Jesmeral Stable, Ideal Star N is trained by Sheena Mcelhiney.  
Gray, Mcelhiney and Jesmeral also hooked up in the eight race with Audi Hare N (1:52.1, $5.80) giving that team a double on Monday. Gray ended up with a driving triple at the end of the day. 
The co-featured $15,000 conditioned pace for Massachusetts owned 4-year-olds and under was won by Finnbar (Ron Cushing) who went right to the front and led at every station en route to a half-length victory in 1:53.3, which was a new lifetime mark. 
Finnbar ($9.20) is owned and trained by Nancy Longobardi and will be racing later this month in the Massachusetts Sires Stakes which start at Plainridge Park on Sunday, Sept. 27. 
Driver Ron Cushing also doubled up on Monday after winning with Bettors Fire N ($4.80) who went gate to wire in a new seasonal mark of 1:52.1. Heidi Gibbs trains Bettors Fire N for owners Kevin Sywyk, Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. (Standardbred Owners of Mass.)
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