Chester and Mary Broman have long been two of the more successful supporters of the New York breeding program. During the soggy stretch run of the $250,000 Ruffian Stakes (G2) May 13, the Bromans' commitment was front and center at the head of the compact field, putting on a state-bred showcase for the Belmont Park faithful.
Not only did the Bromans own two of the five that went postward in the Ruffian Stakes, they had the added confidence in knowing both their fillies boasted previous wins over wet tracks—no small factor given the amount of rain that soaked the Belmont surface Saturday.
Highway Star also came into the eight-furlong test unbeaten in three prior starts at Belmont, and her affinity for the venue remains intact after a stalking trip under jockey Angel Arroyo. When Indulgent took command early, Rodrigo Ubillo-trained Highway Star settled into the inside path in third as the pacesetter splashed through an opening quarter in :23.84 and a half-mile in :48.11.
Indulgent still held a 1 1/2-length advantage at the top of the lane, but Highway Star found her best rhythm along the rail and the John Kimmel-trained Bar of Gold rallied down the middle of the track in search of her first graded score. It was the chestnut daughter of Girolamo who prevailed. Highway Star took a short lead at the eighth pole and then turned back 6-5 favorite Bar of Gold to cover the distance in 1:39.05 over the sealed, sloppy track.
"We got a very good trip. Angel did a great job. He saved ground and we talked about doing that before the race," Ubillo said. "The speed had been strong all day, but the last two races it died out a little bit, so we decided not to change our tactics and it worked out. We're very happy."
The Ruffian continues a class ascent for Highway Star, who broke her maiden at first asking at Belmont in May of 2016. The 4-year-old filly earned her first graded win when she took the Go for Wand Handicap (G3) by a nose over fellow Ruffian entrant High Ridge Road in December. After she finished fourth in her seasonal debut in the Jan. 13 Ladies Handicap, she rebounded with a half-length win in the April 9 Distaff Handicap (G3).
"I don't know where we'll go from here. We'll take it step by step, but so far we'll enjoy this win," Ubillo said. "She's good enough she can do anything."
High Ridge Road finished 2 1/4-lengths back in third in the Ruffian, with Verve's Tale hitting the line fourth and Indulgent fading to last. Sent off at 5-1 odds, Highway Star paid $12, $4.20, and $2.60 across the board.
Out of the stakes-placed Cat Thief mare Stolen Star, herself a Broman homebred, Highway Star bolstered her record to seven wins from 10 starts with $614,000 in earnings.