Star of Night
Star of Night was up late to defeat Bridging the Gap in the My Sister Pearl. Photo by Coady Photography.

They’ll be talking about this year’s edition of the $50,000 My Sister Pearl Stakes for some time to come.

The anticipated battle between West Virginia Breeders’ Classics winners Star of Night and Bridging the Gap materialized early and continued all the way to the wire while the duo left the rest of the field far behind.

In the end, Star of Night found just a bit more and surged late to win by a half-length. It was more than eight lengths back to the rest of the field.

Star of Night, trained by Jeff Runco for Huntertown Farm LLC, entered the My Sister Pearl with nearly a spotless record: five wins and two runner-up finishes from seven career starts. She’d galloped home by almost five in winning the West Virginia Tourism Office Breeders’ Classic for three-year-old fillies October 10.

While Bridging the Gap’s career record isn’t quite so gaudy, it, too, was plenty strong and included a dominant win in the Cavada, the top WVBC race for the distaff set. She’s owned and trained by John McKee.

The question both had to answer was the distance: neither had ever tried a three-turn route distance at Charles Town prior to this 1 1/8-mile affair.

A horse who’d already answered the distance question, She Figures, winner of the WVBC Distaff at the nine-furlong trip, went off as the 7-1 third choice but never was much involved en route to a fifth-place finish. All of the other runners were at least 20-1 at post time.

When the gates opened, Bridging the Gap, with Reshawn Latchman up, was away quickest of all and quickly established the front. Star of Night and Arnaldo Bocachica immediately grabbed second, and the battle was joined.

Those two, never separated by much, led the field through moderate fractions of 49.76 seconds for the half-mile and 1:15.38 for three-quarters, while 30-1 outsider See Ya Manana tucked into third after the third quarter, just two behind the lead pair while clear of the rest.

The top pair were separated by just a half-length after three quarters, and entering the third turn, they quickly separated themselves from the rest of the field.

Bridging the Gap, racing on the rail, seemed to turn back Star of Night in upper stretch, but the sophomore Creative Cause filly found just a bit more late and surged past her rival in the shadow of the wire. They were separated by a half-length at the wire and were over eight lengths clear of See Ya Manana, who held third. Running time over a fast main track was 1:55.81.

As the 3-5 favorite – one of seven favorites to win on the night – Star of Night returned $3.20 to her backers. The exacta, with the second choice underneath, returned $3.20 for a dollar.

Star of Night now has six wins from eight career starts, with earnings of $157,780. The victory was her fourth in a row and third in stakes company, and she’s won six of seven this year.

Bridging the Gap, who’s won six of 11 this year, has career earnings of $211,768.