Stellar takes the right Path in Athenia victory
"I had a perfect trip,” Rosario said. “At the five-sixteenths pole I wasn't sure if I was going to come out or stay inside. The (No.) 2 horse went out a little bit, so I took a chance and went through on the inside because I had a lot of horse at that point. Everything worked out well today.”
Keri Belle, a 29-1 longshot, tried to steal the 1 1/16-mile turf affair on the front end, establishing early splits in :26.44 and :50.93 before reaching the six-furlong mark in 1:14.72 with a 3 ½-length cushion.
Stellar Path stalked the pace in fifth before advancing closer on the far turn, and she accelerated quickly to the front in upper stretch as the pacesetter began to retreat. She was under a full drive but was never seriously threatened late, stopping the teletimer in 1:43.41 on the firm turf.
Wiener Valkyrie, a 66-1 outsider, came charging late for second. It was another three quarters of a length back to 3-1 second choice Lady Lara, who left herself too much to do at the back of the field behind a slow pace before rallying belatedly for third.
Next under the wire came Rusty Slipper, Granny Mc’s Kitten, A Little Bit Sassy, 3-1 favorite Coffee Clique, Faufiler, Tango Time, Speed Seeker, Keri Belle, Joy and Baffle Me.
A Group 3 winner in 2013, Stellar Path won a total of three stakes in France before shipping to North America for the 2015 season. She captured her first start stateside, the Plenty of Grace at Aqueduct in mid-April, and followed with a fourth in the Nassau (G2) at Woodbine a month later.
She received a two-month freshening after a third in the Eatotown (G3) at Monmouth in late June, returning with a third in September 7 Avowal at Woodbine, and the gray lass has now earned $437,545 from a 18-7-3-3 career record.
Stellar Path was bred in Great Britain by S F Bloodstock and initially sold for $172,676 as a yearling. She was purchased last December at a French auction for $466,830.
Owned by Trevor C. Stewart, Stellar Path is by Astronomer Royal and hails from the stakes-winning Vergla mare America Nova. She counts Australian Group 2 winner Weary as a full brother.
Christophe Clement, winning trainer of Stellar Path: "I thought it was a great ride. This filly has been a bit unlucky all year long; she's a touch difficult to ride. Joel came, he worked her last Sunday, and she actually worked in company with Hard Not to Like. He got to know her and everything worked out. She was just wide behind the leaders, perfect ride. They all opened up and she won the race."
Joel Rosario, winning rider aboard Stellar Path: “I had a chance to work her in the morning and I like her. She's a nice filly and does everything well."
Stellar Path photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography