Star de Naskra could turn on the speed. During his 4-year-old season in 1979, while defeating the likes of Alydar and defending sprint champion Dr. Patches, he ranked as the top sprinter in the nation throughout the year and took home the Eclipse Award as champion of the division.
Carlyle “Jiggs” Lancaster campaigned his homebred to stakes wins each year from 2 to 4. A medium-sized bay colt with eye-catching markings of a star and a snip which extended over his right nostril, Star de Naskra got his first win in his first start at 2, a five-furlong maiden special weight at Bowie in June. The final of his 15 wins came a little over two years later in Saratoga’s Grade 2 Whitney at a mile and an eighth, a race he led at every call and held off the imposing Cox’s Ridge. In between he raced at a dozen tracks against the best in the country, including Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, Dave’s Friend and General Assembly. He was named Maryland-bred Horse of the Year and Maryland-bred champion older male in 1979.
Highlights of his career included a seven-race win streak, although New York stewards disqualified him once after a questionable call. Trained throughout his career by Dick Ferris, the son of Naskra won eight stakes and earned $587,391 in his 36-start career in which he finished worse than fourth only three times.
Star de Naskra’s championship season saw him make 10 trips to the post; he recorded six wins in just a little over five months, with stakes scores in the Bold Ruler at six furlongs in 1:09.20; the seven-furlong Carter Handicap-G2, where he turned back the mighty Alydar to win by a neck in 1:21.80; Ak-Sar-Ben’s Cornhusker Handicap while stretching out to 11⁄8 miles, where he set the pace and drew off by more than 8 lengths; and the Whitney. He led early in his final start in the Grade 1 Vosburgh but gave way and was fourth, beaten five lengths by General Assembly and exited with a pulled ligament which forced his retirement.
The first stakes winner bred by Lancaster, Star de Naskra was out of Candle Star, an unraced daughter of Clandestine purchased by Lancaster in 1970 from breeder Zelda Cohen, wife of Pimlico co-owner Ben Cohen, while carrying her first foal. Star de Naskra was born at Edgar M. Lucas’ Helmore Farm in Woodbine in 1975.
At 2, Star de Naskra won back-to-back stakes, taking the Dover at Delaware Park and Timonium Futurity, the latter held during the Maryland State Fair in which he soundly defeated Bill Farish’s favorite Forever Casting by nearly five lengths. He would add Bowie’s Marlboro Nursery that fall and count as a highlight of the campaign a third behind Affirmed and Alydar in the Grade 1 Laurel Futurity.
In 15 starts at 3, he won four times, his only stakes win the Penn Treaty at Keystone in his second start of the year. But he was always tough, finishing second or third 10 times, all in stakes, four graded. His only off-the-board finish was over a sloppy track, a surface he never won on.
Prior to the Cornhusker Handicap in the summer of 1979, Lancaster sold a half-interest of Star de Naskra to William duPont III, owner of Pillar Stud in Lexington, Ky., where Star de Naskra launched a successful stud career in 1980. He later stood at Spendthrift Farm before moving to Darby Dan Farm in 1993. Pensioned in the spring of 2000, he was euthanized at Darby Dan that fall due to the infirmities of old age. The 25-year-old stallion sired 19 crops, and counted nearly 50 stakes winners including two-time Vosburgh-G1 winner Sewickley and Grade 1 Travers winner Carr de Naskra.