12/03/2016 5:06PM

Highway Star saves day for Bromans in Go for Wand Handicap

Joe Labozzetta/NYRA
Highway Star (5), ridden by Angel Arroyo, outfinishes High Ridge Road by a nose in the Grade 3 Go for Wand.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though heavily favored Bar of Gold came up empty again in a graded stakes, owners Chester and Mary Broman did not as their other entrant, Highway Star, squeaked out a nose victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap at Aqueduct.

Highway Star not only recorded her first graded stakes victory, but gave her trainer, Rodrigo Ubillo, his first graded win as well. Meanwhile, Bar of Gold, coming off an 18-length victory in the Empire Distaff Handicap for New York-breds in October at Belmont Park, is now 0 for 11 in graded stakes. She is 5 for 5 against statebreds.

“I’m disappointed for the other horse,” Chester Broman said of Bar of Gold. “This was the up-and-coming horse; every race a little better than the race before, right?”

When Highway Star won a division of the New York Stallion Stakes here on Nov. 13, Ubillo felt the seven furlongs was actually too short for his 3-year-old daughter of Girolamo. Ubillo said he believes Highway Star’s best distance is a one-turn mile, a configuration at which Highway Star is now perfect in three tries.

No one assumed command in the early stages of the Go for Wand, so ultimately Wonder Gal, the 5-2 second choice under Kendrick Carmouche, and Burn Control, a 50-1 shot under Alan Garcia, were head and head through a quarter-mile in 24.20 seconds and a half-mile in 47.67.

Highway Star, under Angel Arroyo, was widest of four in the second flight chasing that pair. Bar of Gold, the 3-5 favorite under Joel Rosario, was also in that quartet.

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Turning for home, Wonder Gal had the lead and Highway Star moved into second. High Ridge Road and Bar of Gold were right behind them trading bumps. Wonder Gal held the lead into deep stretch, but Highway Star surged to the lead inside the sixteenth pole and was able to outfinish High Ridge Road to win by a nose. It was a neck back to Wonder Gal in third. Bar of Gold finished fourth, followed by Cayman Croc, Camille Claudel, and Burn Control.

Highway Star, the only 3-year-old in the field, covered the mile over a fast main track in 1:38.07 and returned $17.20 to win.

“I thought we were going to be third [behind] a good pace and she was almost next to last,” Ubillo said. “We were a little concerned, but it worked out just fine.”

Ubillo said had Highway Star not run well Saturday, he might have wheeled her back in next Saturday’s $100,000 Bay Ridge Stakes for New York-breds. Ubillo said he won’t do that now, but Highway Star could show up in a stakes over the inner track during the first part of next year.

Meanwhile, trainer John Kimmel said he was “very disappointed” in Bar of Gold’s finish. Though Bar of Gold had run two very good races coming from off the pace, Kimmel said he felt that Joel Rosario perhaps should have had her into the race more early on due to the pedestrian pace.

Kimmel also wasn’t pleased with the tactics of Junior Alvarado on Highway Ridge Road.

“He was trying to make [Bar of Gold] get in behind the other horse. He must have banged into her three or four times down the stretch,” Kimmel said. “It’s horse racing. At least Chester won it with the other horse.”