September 26, 2022

Ethereal Road Belmont-bound after romping in Sir Barton; Carotari leads all the way in Jim McKay

Ethereal Road wins the Sir Barton Stakes (Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski/Maryland Jockey Club)

Ethereal Road will head to the Belmont S. (G1) off a sharp win in Saturday’s $100,000 Sir Barton S. at Pimlico, rolling past the competition to score by 4 3/4 lengths.

The D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt was scratched the morning before the Kentucky Derby, allowing upset winner Rich Strike to draw into the field from the also-eligible list, and Ethereal Road earned his first win since breaking his maiden in late January. He’s owned by Aaron Sones.

Luis Saez was up on the 3-2 favorite, and the Quality Road colt rated about 10 lengths off the pace along the backstretch of the 1 1/16-mile race. Good Skate was winging it on the front end through early splits in :23.70, :47.26, and 1:10.92, and Ethereal Road began to circle foes on the far turn.

Spinning wide into the stretch, Ethereal Road quickly inhaled the competition to take a clear lead with an eighth of a mile remaining, and the bay Kentucky-bred continued to widen his advantage to the wire, stopping the teletimer in 1:43.20.

“That’s what we expected,” Lukas said. “That’s his style. It was a picture-perfect ride from Luis. 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.”

“He ran pretty nice,” Saez added. “The pace was perfect for him. It’s the style he likes to run – break and make one move. He finished really strong.”

Ethereal Road will stretch out to 1 1/2 miles for the Belmont on June 11.

B Dawk finished a clear second, more than two lengths better than Mr Jefferson in third. Ruggs, Good Skate, Unikee, Goldenize, and Writeitontheice rounded out the order.

After breaking his maiden the fourth time out, Ethereal Road followed with a half-length second in the Rebel (G2) a month later, but he didn’t fire when seventh in the Arkansas Derby (G1) next out. He was exiting a fourth in the April 16 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland.

Ethereal Road has now earned $354,545 from an 8-2-1-1 record. Bred by Paul Pompa, the sophomore was purchased for $90,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September yearling sale. Ethereal Road is out of Grade 3 runner-up Sustained, a daughter of War Front and also the dam of Grade 3 victor Turned Aside.

One race later on the Preakness undercard, Carotari made all the running in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint S. with Saez, winning wire-to-wire by a 1 1/2-length margin as the 7-5 favorite.

The Bryan Lynch-trained gelding completed five furlongs in :56.52 on the firm turf.

Unraced since a comfortable win in the Janus S. at Gulfstream on New Year’s Eve, Carotari notched his third straight tally for owner William A. Branch. The six-year-old has earned more than $600,000 from a 25-9-6-3 ledger, including five stakes tallies.

Smokin’ Jay edged Seven Scents by a nose for second. Next came Grateful Bred, Mr. Hustle, Bank, Arthur’s Hope, The Wolfman, and Hollis.

By Artie Schiller, Carotari was bred in Kentucky by Tom Evans and Pam Clark. He’s the second stakes winner from the Rahy mare Soother.