ELMONT, NY – Highway Star continued her Belmont Park dominance, gaining the lead in the stretch and outkicking the 6-5 favorite Bar of Gold by a 1/2-length in the 41st running on the Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up in the last of four graded stakes on Saturday’s card.
Highway Star won for the fifth time in six starts and improved to 4-for-4 on “Big Sandy,” the moniker given to Belmont’s main track. The Chester and Mary Broman homebred completed the one-mile course in 1:39.05, improving to 2-for-2 on sloppy tracks in her career for trainer Rodrigo Ubillo.
Emerging from post 3, jockey Angel Arroyo kept Highway Star off pacesetter Indulgent‘s early fractions of :23.84 and :48.11. Moved near the rail coming out of the turn, Highway Star overtook Indulgent near the 3/16 pole and fended off a late charge from stablemate Bar of Gold to notch her third career graded stakes win, her second straight after winning the Grade 3 Distaff on April 9 at Aqueduct.
“This filly ran really great,” Arroyo said. “I was concerned a little because the other filly, No. 5 (Bar of Gold), has ran five times on a sloppy track and won five times, so she loves the slop. I wasn’t as sure about my filly, but she took to it today. She’s a real racehorse.”
Off at 5-1, the New York-bred 4-year-old improved her career earnings to $614,000.
“We got a very good trip, Angel did a great job,” Ubillo said. “He saved ground and we talked about doing that before the race. The speed had been strong all day, but the last two races, it died out a little bit, so we decided not to change our tactics, and it worked out. She’s good enough, she can do anything. We’re very happy.
“I don’t know where we’ll go from here,” he added. “We’ll take it step by step, but so far, we’ll enjoy this win. We’re happy.”
Bar of Gold, for trainer John Kimmel, finished on the board in a graded stakes for the first time since a third-place effort in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters on September 19. High Ridge Road was third for trainer Linda Rice, improving the 5-year-old’s career record to 5-2-4 in 13 career starts. Verve’s Tale and Indulgent completed the order of finish.
Highway Star returned $12, $4.20, and $2.60. Bar of Gold brought back $3.10 and $2.10, while High Ridge Road paid $2.10 to show.