by Steve Andersen
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 26, 2019)–S Y Sky, proven in stakes for female turf sprinters this year, reverted to the form that launched her career in Sunday’s Grade 3 Monrovia Stakes at five furlongs on dirt at Santa Anita.
S Y Sky won a stakes on the main track for the first time since the Melair Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies in May 2017 in the Monrovia Stakes, which was scheduled for turf but moved to dirt because of concern over rain that failed to materialize by post time.
A 5-year-old mare, S Y Sky ran in four races on dirt between the Melair and Monrovia, finishing second or third in three stakes during that span. She finished second in an allowance race with a $62,500 claiming option at five furlongs on dirt at Del Mar last November and was promoted to first when a rival was disqualified for a bumping incident.
S Y Sky ($6.20) won the $200,702 Monrovia Stakes by three-quarters of a length over 9-10 favorite Belvoir Bay, who had her first start on Sunday since a second in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on turf in Dubai on March 30.
Belvoir Bay dueled for the early lead with 7-1 Lady Suebee through fractions of 21.76 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.19 for a half-mile. S Y Sky, third to early stretch, closed well to take the lead from Belvoir Bay in the final furlong under jockey Drayden Van Dyke.
S Y Sky was timed in 57.54 seconds. Van Dyke’s ride left trainer Phil D’Amato impressed.
“When he saw the way those two were going all out, he ease her back,” D’Amato said. “That was the winning move.”
Belvoir Bay finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Lady Suebee, who was followed by Spectator, Flammetta, Rocky Policy, and Painting Corners. Painting Corners was found to have bled visibly when she was returned to be unsaddled and was walked back to the stables.
S Y Sky, a California-bred by Grazen, has won 7 of 13 starts and earned $662,320 for owner and breeder Nick Alexander. The Monrovia Stakes was her first graded stakes win and the sixth stakes win of her career.
Earlier this year, S Y Sky won two turf stakes – the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint on the hillside course in January and the Camilla Urso Stakes at five furlongs on turf at Golden Gate Fields on April 27.
The Monrovia was listed as a Grade 2 race but was demoted to Grade 3 status because of the surface switch. The race will be reviewed by the American Graded Stakes committee in coming days for possible reinstatement of Grade 2 status.