Highway Star tries to get back on winning track in Heavenly Prize

via NYRA
March 07, 2018 04:55pm
Highway Star_Go for Wand 2016_615x400
Photo: NYRA/Joe Labozzetta
Chester and Mary Broman's multiple graded stakes winner Highway Star will aim to start her 5-year-old campaign on a high note, leading a field of eight in the $150,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational for fillies and mares at a mile, one of four stakes Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack, anchored by the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham.

Highway Star, a New York-bred mare by Girolamo, posted victories last spring in the Grade 3 Distaff and Grade 2 Ruffian. The Rodrigo Ubillo trainee hit the board in a pair of Grade 1s, finishing third behind Songbird and Paid Up Subscriber in the Ogden Phipps and then shortened up to seven furlongs in the Ballerina, where she finished second by a head to By the Moon.

She won the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs by a neck onSeptember 24 at Belmont Park before finishing a troubled 11th in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint in November, won by fellow Broman homebred Bar of Gold. Highway Star returned for a repeat bid in the Grade 3 Go for Wand Handicap at the Big A, finishing a length behind Indulgent on December 2 to break the seven-figure mark in career earnings.

"We don't want to put too much pressure on her," said Ubillo. "She's fully ready, so we're hoping for something similar to last year. But she's doing great."

"She's won over different distances, so I think anything between seven [furlongs] and a mile, she can handle, and she'll have no problem," he added. "She's a fun horse to train. In the mornings, there's something new, in a good way. Every time we ask her to do something different, she's willing."

Joe Rocco, Jr. picks up the mount aboard Highway Star in the Heavenly Prize, carded as Race 8. The pair will break from post 3.

Lady Sheila Stable's New York-bred Holiday Disguise will try open company for the first time following four straight wins against state-breds, punctuated by an eight-month break after winning the seven-furlong Bouwerie on May 29 at Belmont. Last time out, the Harlan's Holiday filly stalked a moderate pace in the Biogio's Rose at a mile on February 8 before rolling home a 3 ¼-length winner for trainer Linda Rice.

"We had entered her several times before the Biogio's Rose, but with the weather and quarantine and everything, we kept having to scratch," said Rice. "I guess it's a bit unorthodox to run a mile off that kind of a layoff when they've never run that distance before, but a mile was something we always thought would fit her. We were in the process of stretching her out last year when we had to stop on her, so I guess we've been able to kind of pick up where we left off."

A $220,000 yearling purchase, Holiday Disguise is a 4-year-old half-sister toMidnight Disguise, who has won a pair of Kentucky Oaks preps at the Big A, including a 1 ¾-length score in the Busher last Saturday.

Junior Alvarado will ride Holiday Disguise from post 7.

Rice will also saddle Aron Yagoda's Crimson Frost, who will be making her second stakes start following a distant sixth-place finish in the Thirty Eight Go Go onJanuary 8 at Laurel Park, her first off-the-board result since finishing fifth in a 1 1/16-mile allowance in October. Following the Thirty Eight Go Go, the 4-year-old Stormy Atlantic filly returned to the Big A on February 18 to win an optional-claiming race by a length.

"She's done well for us this fall and winter," said Rice. "She seems to like Aqueduct. She didn't seem to like the two turns at Laurel. Here, she gets a big, sweeping turn and I think she prefers that."

Crimson Frost will have the services of Trevor McCarthy from post 4.

Thirty Eight Go Go winner Bishop's Pond will try to win her second straight stakes on the dirt for the Jason Servis barn. The 6-year-old Curlin mare raced exclusively on the turf until September, when she won a allowance at a mile and 70 yards by four lengths at Delaware Park. Less than three weeks later, she finished fifth in the Grade 1 Beldame, 10 ¼ lengths behind Elate, and returned to the turf to finish fifth in the Forever Together on November 25 at Aqueduct.

"Her dirt form is good," said Servis. "She's been kind of a surprise. She's two for three on dirt and she ran into a really good filly in the Beldame. But, she can run well on the dirt, and you can't win if you ain't in."

Bishop's Pond will be ridden by Manny Franco from post 2.

Rounding out the field are Interborough winner Divine Miss Grey for Corms Racing Stable and trainer Danny Gargan; George and Stephanie Autry's Frost Wise, winner of the Bay Ridge on January 18 and second in the Biogio's Rose last time out; Juddmonte Farm's Boule, second in the Interborough on January 15 for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott; and Leonard C. Green's Inconclusive, who crossed the wire a troubled fifth in the January 21 Ladies Handicap before being elevated to fourth via disqualification.

Heavenly Prize was the Eclipse Award Champion 3-year-old filly of 1994. She is also the granddam of Kentucky Derby 2018 contender Instilled Regard


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