Five-year-old Eternal Star took advantage of a perfect stalking trip to bag his first graded stakes victory in the $250,000 Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) April 11 on the Keeneland Polytrack.
Making the 21st start of his career, Eternal Star raced just behind My Pal Charlie and Ravalo, who slugged it out the entire way in the seven-furlong sprint. Eibar Coa angled Eternal Star outside of the leaders entering the stretch and after the two pacesetters had enough, the son of Five Star Day took over approaching the sixteenth-pole. He won by three parts of a length. The final time was 1:21.17.
"I really had the perfect trip," Coa said. "I had those two horses in front of me, so I was pretty happy where I was. When I switched him to the outside he just gave me what he had."
The favorite, Rebellion, came from off the pace under Edgar Prado to take second, a half-length in front of third-place My Pal Charlie. Ravalo was fourth in the field of eight.
Eternal Star was making the fourth start of the year for trainer Michael Trombetta. He entered the Commonwealth off a heartbreaking defeat in the March 7 Toboggan Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, where he was caught at the wire by Ah Day. Prior to that he was fourth in the General George Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park.
Eternal Star improved his record to 10-5-1 and has now earned $605,920 for Harry Meyeroff and Tom Meyeroff. The Commonwealth was his first race on a synthetic surface.
"He's been a lot of fun," Trombetta said. "He's had some tough beats this year, but this one made up for a lot of those. As I told Eibar — this was his first time riding him — this horse is very versatile. He'll run on the lead; he'll run next to last. He does his thing."
The winner was bred in Kentucky by George Arnold Sr. and Tom Van Meter. He is out of the Eternal Prince mare Retsina’s Princess.
Eternal Star paid $13.20, $5.40 and $4. The exacta (1-8) returned $47 and the trifecta (1-8-4) $143.60.
Ravalo, with John Velazquez aboard, led through a quarter-mile in :23.16. Never far behind, My Pal Charlie took over to lead after a half-mile in :46.12. Ravalo fought back to take a short lead entering the stretch.