Salute the Stars endured all of the trouble in running but all of the glory in winning Saturday at Monmouth Park when posting a mild upset win over odds-on favorite Kingsbarns in the $150,000 Pegasus S.
The second choice in a field of six three-year-olds, Salute the Stars was bumped and steadied leaving the gate, and then was very rank around the clubhouse turn. He eventually settled down in the run down the backside, while Subrogate set a pace of :23.71, :47.60, and 1:11.87. Kingsbarns, the Louisiana Derby (G2) winner who was sent off as the 1-2 choice, was never more than a length behind Subrogate.
Kingsbarns engaged Subrogate approaching the turn for home, and in upper stretch it appeared as if the Pegasus would be a two-horse race to the wire. However, no sooner had Kingsbarns began to assert his class inside the final furlong that Salute the Stars uncorked a furious late rally under Joel Rosario. Making up 4 1/2 lengths in the final furlong, Salute the Stars won the Pegasus by a neck from Kingsbarns, finishing up in 1:43.87 over a fast track.
Owned by Gary and Mary West and trained by Brad Cox, Salute the Stars paid $7.80.
Kingsbarns, who was burned on the pace in the Kentucky Derby (G1) when last seen, finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Howgreatisnate, who caught the tiring Subrogate for third by a nose. The order of finish was completed by Classic Catch and No Confession.
The Pegasus was the first stakes win for Salute the Stars, who has now won three of four starts. He ran twice as a two-year-old, both times over the Ellis Park turf, finishing second on debut and then winning a maiden by three lengths going 1 1/16 miles. Salute the Stars did not race for more than eight months, reappearing in a nine-furlong off-the-turf allowance at Churchill Downs on May 14. He prevailed in that race by a neck. He has now earned $210,960.
Bred in Kentucky by the Wests, Salute the Stars is by Candy Ride and out of Star Sighting, a Malibu Moon half-sister to Grade 1 winners Carpe Diem and J. B.’s Thunder, and to the multiple Grade 2-winning filly Farrell.
Another recent Churchill allowance winner, Petulante, scored his first career stakes win later in the card in the $150,000 Salvator Mile (G3). The 19-10 favorite in the field of eight older horses, Petulante edged Nimitz Class by a half-length in a time of 1:36.88
Owned by Lugamo Racing Stable and trained by Victor Barboza Jr., Petulante was ridden by Luis Saez and paid $5.80. Finishing behind Nimitz Class were Trademark, Artorius, Bourbonic, Octane, Bourbon Calling, and Empty Tomb.
Now a winner in four of six lifetime starts, the Kentucky-bred Petulante is by the late champion Arrogate and out of the Grade 2-placed Aunt Jenn, by Uncle Mo. Petulante was a $40,000 OBS juvenile purchase.