Nick Alexander's homebred S Y Sky got the job done in an off-the-turf edition of the $200,000 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday, finishing fast down the lane to hit the wire three-quarters of a length in front of favorite Belvoir Bay. The 5-year-old daughter of Alexander's Grazen completed five furlongs on the fast main track in :57.54. Sent off as the 2-1 second choice, the mare was ridden by Drayden Van Dyke on behalf of trainer Phil D'Amato.
Although she broke like a shot and had the early lead, S Y Sky eased back off the dueling twosome of Belvoir Bay and Lady Suebee heading to the far turn. Leaving the quarter pole, Van Dyke angled off the rail, took dead aim on Belvoir Bay turning for home and blew by her approaching the sixteenth pole in a huge effort.
“Phil told me she's fast, but she can be tactical too,” said Van Dyke. “We broke sharp, but I was able to take her back and she finished really well.”
A rousing 3 ½ length winner in the five furlong turf Camilla Urso Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on April 27, S Y Sky was off as the second choice at 2-1 in a field reduced to seven fillies and mares by four program scratches and paid $6.20, $2.60 and $2.10.
“I thought she was doing well, but I've got to give the credit today to Drayden Van Dyke,” said D'Amato. “She popped on top and she was in control, but Drayden realized the top two were really smoking so he eased her back and that was the winning move. We're looking forward to campaigning her the rest of the year.”
Out of Alexander's Sky Mesa mare Sky Marni, S Y Sky notched her fifth stakes win and improved her overall mark to 13-7-5-1. With the winner's share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $662,320.
“I knew if she caught Belvoir Bay at the top of the lane she would out-finish her, I was sure of that,” said Alexander. “Her last race at Golden Gate, Flavien rode her and he made a huge move in the turn going for home and he said, 'This filly has a huge turn of foot.' The secret after that was just keep her busy. She's made over a half a million bucks in just Cal-bred races.
“She's out of a mare that I claimed from A.C. Avila at Del Mar about seven years ago for $16,000 bucks. Everyone in her family has been a winner, we just get lucky sometimes.”
Idle since running a close second in a Group I stakes going six furlongs on turf in Dubai on March 30, Belvoir Bay, who never threw in the towel, was off as the 4-5 favorite and paid $2.40 and $2.10 while finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of Lady Suebee.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Lady Suebee was off at 7-1 and paid $3.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.76 and 45.19.
Originally scheduled for turf, today's Monrovia was moved to the main track at five furlongs earlier in the day due to the prospect of significant rain. The American Graded Stakes Committee will confer in the coming days as to whether today's running will retain its graded status.
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