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Ethereal Road Takes Overland Route in $100,000 Sir Barton
Lukas-Trained Colt Sweeps to 1st Stakes Win in Race for 3YOs
LAUREL, MD – Aaron Sones’ Ethereal Road became a stakes winner in grand style Saturday at historic Pimlico Race Course, making a bold sweeping move on the far outside to circle the field and capture the $100,000 Sir Barton by 4 ¾ lengths.
The 24th running of the 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton for 3-year-olds was the seventh of 10 stakes, six graded, worth $2.75 million in purses headlined by the 147th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Ethereal Road, favored at 3-2 in a field of eight, covered the distance in 1:43.20 over a fast main track under jockey Luis Saez. The Quality Road colt was withdrawn from the May 7 Kentucky Derby (G1) field because Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas wasn’t enthusiastic about the way he was training into the race, allowing Rich Strike into the race that he would win at odds of 80-1.
Lukas considered Ethereal Road for the Preakness, in which he and Saez will team up with Kentucky Oaks (G1)-winning filly Secret Oath, before settling instead on the Sir Barton, a race neither he nor Saez had ever won.
Good Skate, sent off at 30-1 in his stakes debut, was eager for the lead and held it while chased by Ruggs as Saez settled Ethereal Road near the back of the pack, leading only Writeitontheice after a quarter-mile in 23.70 seconds. Saez remained unhurried as the half went in 47.26, swinging Ethereal Road to the outside midway down the backstretch. Ethereal Road cruised past horses around the far turn, straightened for home and set sail for the wire.
B Dawk, an 11 ¼-length maiden special weight winner April 24 at Keeneland, was second, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Mr Jefferson. Ruggs, Good Skate, Unikee, Goldenize and Writeitontheice completed the order of finish.
Ethereal Road, a $90,000 yearling purchase in September 2020, went winless in three starts at 2 before breaking his maiden Jan. 29 at Oaklawn Park in his season opener. From there he was second by a half-length to Un Ojo in the Rebel (G2), seventh to Zandon in the Blue Grass (G1) and fourth as the favorite a week later in the Lexington (G3).
Sir Barton won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1919, becoming the first horse to sweep what wouldn’t become known as the Triple Crown until Gallant Fox matched the feat in 1930. The race returned to the Preakness undercard this year after not being run when the stakes schedule was adjusted and delayed to last fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
$100,000 Sir Barton Quotes
Winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Ethereal Road: “That’s what we expected. That’s his style. It was a picture-perfect ride from Luis [Saez]. We probably should have left him in the Derby, but that’s hindsight. He got a good trip. The fractions are realistic. We can definitely build off this.”
Winning jockey Luis Saez, Ethereal Road: “He ran pretty nice. The pace was perfect for him. It’s the style he likes to run – break and make one move. He finished really strong.”
(On winning a stakes on Preakness Day for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas): “It’s a special moment. He’s a legend, so to be part of a special moment for him, I feel so grateful.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill, B Dawk, 2nd: “First time two turns. He got beat by a real horse. I mean, this is a Derby kind of horse. So, we're very proud of B Dawk. Big things coming ahead. I thought he ran a dynamite race. Tyler [Gaffalione] got him in a good spot. And, again, the winner is the real deal. He got the first jump on us, and how do you top that?”
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione, B Dawk, 2nd: “He broke alertly and put us in a nice spot. He settled with a good run around the first turn. He still is a little immature, still learning. But I loved the way he finished up in the lane. He didn’t want to switch leads, looking at the grandstand. But this colt has a real nice future.”
Trainer Michael Trombetta, Mr Jefferson, 3rd: “He ran well. It's just hard to make up ground on this track right now.”
Jockey Jaime Rodriguez, Mr Jefferson, 3rd: “The way the track has been all day, you’ve got to be close to the pace, 1-2-3. Nothing is coming back. Once I passed the wire, he galloped out good. I think more distance next time. The ‘1’ who won the race, that was the horse to beat. This group was a little bit tougher than the last time. But he gave me a really good effort today.”