11/13/2016 6:01PM

Highway Star handles Staten Island's seven furlongs

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Joe Labozzetta/NYRA
Highway Star, with Angel Arroyo aboard, wins the Staten Island by 3 1/4 lengths.

Trainer Rodrigo Ubillo worried that the seven furlongs of Sunday’s Staten Island division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Aqueduct would be too short for his 3-year-old filly Highway Star.

In the end it proved ideal as Highway Star, under Angel Arroyo, ran down three-time stakes winner Frosty Margarita inside the sixteenth pole to win the $125,000 Staten Island by 3 1/4 lengths. Frosty Margarita, who made the lead just before the three-furlong pole, finished second, a half-length in front Super Surprise, the 4-5 favorite.

Highway Star, a daughter of Girolamo owned and bred by Chester and Mary Broman, improved her career record to 4 for 6. Her only two losses had come in her two prior stakes attempts, one on turf and at 1 1/8 miles on dirt, both at Saratoga.

Ubillo said he didn’t think either of those distances was ideal for Highway Star and only ran the filly there because she was doing so well at the time. He believes Highway Star’s ideal distance is a one-turn mile, but that type of race wasn’t available to him.

Ubillo said he ran Highway Star on Sunday because “I had no other options.”

Highway Star, ridden by Angel Arroyo, benefited from a fast early pace as Rosie P ran an opening quarter-mile of 22.44 seconds while being pursued by Frosty Margarita and Perfect Freud. Frosty Margarita made the lead just before running a half-mile in 45.46. As she began to open up under Irad Ortiz Jr., Arroyo sent Highway Star after Frosty Margarita.

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After changing leads late in the stretch, Highway Star collared Frosty Margarita 80 yards out and drew clear.

Highway Star covered the seven furlongs in 1:24.18 and returned $9.20 to win.

“She’s a very smart horse. She puts herself in the race,” Ubillo said. “I told Angel not to push her or take her; she will tell you where she’s happy, where she wants to be. She was moving at the half-mile pole on her own but he had to push the button down to the wire because that horse was five lengths in front.”

If Ubillo wants to run Highway Star in a one-turn mile race, the Grade 3, $250,000  Go for Wand Handicap on Dec. 3 affords him that opportunity. Ubillo said he would let the horse indicate to him when she’s ready to run again.