By Brian Bohl —-
Chester and Mary Broman’s Bar of Gold will be looking to build on an impressive win in headlining a seven-horse field in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at one mile at Aqueduct Racetrack. It is the final graded stakes of 2016 on the NYRA circuit.
Trained by John Kimmel, the New York-bred Bar of Gold registered a personal-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Empire Distaff Handicap, at 1 1/16 miles, by 18 lengths on October 22 at Belmont Park.
“She doesn’t want to be on the lead; she’s a filly who can definitely stretch out if you don’t ask her too early,” Kimmel said. “She’s in good shape right now.”
All of Bar of Gold’s five career victories (5-3-3 from 15 career starts) have come against state breds and on wet tracks. The 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro dark bay filly won her previous start at the Go for Wand distance – the Critical Eye on May 30 – and will be looking for her first win against open company while carrying the high weight of 121 pounds.
“The wet track probably helps her, but she trains great on a dry track as well,” Kimmel said. “She’s breezed great on dry tracks, so I’m not really worried about the conditions.”
Jockey Joel Rosario, who piloted Bar of Gold to victory in the Empire Distaff and a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Presque Isles Down Masters on September 19, will have the call again out of post 3.
“I always thought she had that talent level. She had a few races where she was a little unlucky and didn’t have a chance to settle,” Kimmel said. “Now that Joel has a handle on her, that combination should work out pretty good.”
The stakes-tested Wonder Gal returns to New York after a 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 5 at Santa Anita Park. The Leah Gyarmati trainee, who will carry 117 pounds, is looking for her first career win at Aqueduct and first stakes victory overall since the 2015 Empire Distaff Handicap.
Kendrick Carmouche, who rode Wonder Gal in the Breeders’ Cup, will be in the irons again from post 4.
Highway Star, carrying 113 pounds, will make her graded stakes debut for trainer Rodrigo Ubillo after winning the New York Stallion Series Staten Island on November 13. The ultra-consistent 3-year-old is 4-0-1 in six career starts and enters with back-to-back wins while earning 83 Beyer Speed Figures for both efforts.
Angel Arroyo, who rode Highway Star to a 2 ½-length score in the Staten Island, will have a return engagement in leaving post 5.
High Ridge Road will make her first graded stakes start after rallying for a fourth-place finish in the Lady Secret on July 4 at Monmouth. The 4-year-old daughter of Quality Road is 3-for-3 running at one mile and is 1-1-1 in three career starts at the Big A for trainer Linda Rice.
Carrying 114 pounds, High Ridge Road will depart from the outside in tandem with jockey Junior Alvarado.
Rounding out the field are Camille Claudel, who will be returning to stakes company after winning a claiming race on November 7 at Parx, will break from the rail with jockey Dylan Davis; Cayman Croc will be making her first graded stakes start since the 2014 Grade 1 Frizette in departing post 2 with Manny Franco set to ride; and Burn Control, seeking her first stakes win, out of post 6.