In the one-mile test for fillies and mares, Wonder Gal and longshot Burn Control took the lead on the backside, setting the fractions of :24.20, :47.67, and 1:12.83 through six furlongs. Highway Star and High Ridge Road stalked the pace, running a half-length off the front runners.
Around the far turn, Wonder Gal went for the lead, while Highway Star and High Ridge Road went wide and inched closer to the leader down the stretch. Highway Star, under jockey Angel Arroyo, hit the wire first in 1:38.07, getting a nose in front of High Ridge Road, while Wonder Gal finished third by a neck.
"My filly broke good. I put her on in stalking position and on the backside we were clear and went through," Arroyo said. "I had her in good control in the stretch and she really responded. (She was) real strong, I'm excited for her future. She's good."
Highway Star's trainer Rodrigo Ubillo said the filly keeps improving with each start.
"The pace was too slow (early) and, I don't know what happened, but Angel was too far back (on the backside) with the pace and everything," Ubillo said. "I thought we were going to be third with a good pace but he was almost next to last at one point. (When the fractions came up,) we were a little bit concerned, but it worked out just fine.
"Every time she runs, she just gets better and better; more feisty and more happy," he continued. "I ride her myself (in the mornings) and she gives me a good energy. She's almost dropped me off twice; she jumps and kicks, she's just happy. She likes her job."
It was the first graded stakes win for Highway Star, a New York-bred daughter of Giolamo—Stolen Star, by Cat Thief. The 3-year-old filly entered the race on a two-race win streak, including a 3 1/4-length score in the Nov. 13 New York Stallion Series Stakes at Aqueduct her last time out. Her record is now 5-0-1 from seven starts, with earnings of $369,000.
Highway Star returned $17.20, $7, and $5.50 across the board. High Ridge Road paid $5 and $3.80, while Wonder Gal paid $3.90.