KY Derby Scratch Ethereal Road Rolls in Sir Barton


Photo: Chad B. Harmon
Ethereal Road draws away in the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico Race Course

Ethereal Road , whose scratch from the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) cleared an opening for also-eligible Rich Strike  to race and score an upset, picked up a consolation prize May 21 by authoritatively capturing the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

The 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton, named after the first Triple Crown winner of 1919 and sponsored by Brandon and Diannah Perry to Benefit The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, offered but a fraction of the $3 million purse of the Derby, and the competition was understandably easier. None of the eight competitors entered the race as stakes winners, with only Ethereal Road  and Mr Jefferson  having existing stakes placings.

With the Sir Barton complete, Aaron Sones' Ethereal Road now joins in the ranks of stakes winners, and he seems a promising one at that. He swooped past Saturday's field with a circling second-turn rally from seventh and continued with energy to pull away by 4 3/4 lengths under Luis Saez. He was timed in 1:42.20 for the distance, returning $5 to win as the favorite.

"He ran pretty nice," said Saez. "The pace was perfect for him. It's the style he likes to run—break and make one move. He finished really strong."

B Dawk  ran second, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Mr Jefferson in third. Ruggs  was another half-length back in fourth.   

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Pacesetting Good Skate , who led a strung-out field through splits of :23.70, :47.26, and 1:10.92, weakened to fifth.

The race was delayed more than five minutes when a woman was knocked to the ground in the paddock. She left the paddock on a stretcher. According to Pimlico publicity, the injured woman is a Doug O'Neill employee and was taken to Sinai Hospital for treatment of a possible concussion.

Ethereal Road, who trainer D. Wayne Lukas initially said scratched from the Derby after the Quality Road   colt did not have his usual energy in the days before the Derby, turned in one of his best performances Saturday, seemingly on par, if not better, than his runner-up finish in the Rebel Stakes (G3) this winter at Oaklawn Park or a four-length maiden win there a start earlier. 

Ethereal Road (far left) wins the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico on 5-21-22
Photo: Jeff Snyder, Maryland Jockey Club
Ethereal Road (far left) rallies wide to take the Sir Barton Stakes

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

The $90,000 sales graduate from the 2020 September Yearling Sale at Keeneland from the Lane's End consignment is now 2-1-1 in eight starts with earnings of $354,545.

Bred in Kentucky by the late Paul Pompa, Ethereal Road is the second stakes winner from five foals produced by the graded-placed War Front   mare Sustained , the other being Turned Aside  (American Pharoah  ), winner of the Quick Call Stakes (G3T) and Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship Stakes, both in 2020. Two of the dam's three unraced foals include a Connect   2-year-old colt and a yearling by the same sire.