SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Julie Gilbert and Aaron Sones’ graded-stakes placed Ethereal Road breezed a half-mile from the gate in 49.72 seconds Saturday on the Oklahoma training track in company with unraced 2-year-old Track Mate. NYRA clockers caught Ethereal Road through splits of 26 flat and out five-furlongs in 1:02.80.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Ethereal Road, a sophomore son of Quality Road, remains under consideration for either the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy, a nine-furlong test for sophomores on July 30 or the restricted $135,000 Curlin also at nine furlongs on July 29.
Lukas said he was pleased with Saturday’s effort which followed an abbreviated breeze last Friday when Ethereal Road bolted to the outside rail through the turn and was pulled up.
“We worked him out of the gate just to sharpen him up a little bit and find out where we’re at,” Lukas said. “I was trying to get a little better reading on him. His effort was very good today. He went in 49 and change and he actually could have been better than that. I worked him with a 2-year-old colt and he kind of waited. It was a good work.”
Ethereal Road finished a close second to Un Ojo in the Grade 2 Rebel in February at Oaklawn ahead of two starts at Keeneland, finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Blue Grass on April 9 and fourth in the Grade 3 Lexington one week later.
He became a part of Kentucky Derby lore as the horse that scratched from the “Run for the Roses” allowing 80-1 upset winner Rich Strike to make the field.
Ethereal Road rallied to an emphatic 4 3/4-length score in the Sir Barton on May 21 at Pimlico and came back one month later to finish a non-threatening sixth in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown.
“It was a step in the right direction,” said Lukas of Saturday’s breeze. “I’m going to wait and see how he is over the next day or so and maybe try the Jim Dandy. The Curlin is another option.”
Track Mate, a Calumet Farm homebred, is by Union Rags and out of the A.P. Indy mare Teammate, who is a half-sibling to multiple graded-stakes winners War Front and Ecclesiastic.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Ethereal Road sprinting to victory in the Sir Barton at Pimlico on Preakness Day. (Jim McCue/MJC)