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Thiskyhasnolimit breaks through in Iroquois

The Steve Asmussen-trained THISKYHASNOLIMIT (Sky Mesa), who has failed to threaten Breeders' Cup-bound D' Funnybone (D'wildcat) in a pair of Grade 2 races in New York, relished the added ground and change of venue in Sunday's $120,800 Iroquois S. (G3) on opening day at Churchill Downs. Owned by Cathy and Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner, the 13-1 shot rallied to victory over a stubborn Uh Oh Bango (Top Hit) in the one-mile test, one of a pair of graded events on the "Stars of Tomorrow I" program dedicated to promising juveniles.

Thiskyhasnolimit is out of a half to Bernardini (EquiSport Photos)

Thiskyhasnolimit broke alertly with regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, but was content to ease back to eighth and allow others to mix it up during a contested pace. Raging Wit (Distorted Humor) rattled off fractions of :22 4/5 and :46 1/5 along the rail, while Oh Charlie Boy (Canadian Frontier) and Three Day Rush (Harlan's Holiday) applied pressure on the outside. Soaring Empire (Empire Maker) was just off the pace in fifth, and even-money favorite Dublin (Afleet Alex) raced a bit farther back in seventh.

Turning for home, Three Day Rush launched his bid and seized the lead from a tiring Raging Wit. Uh Oh Bango was also uncorking a smart move, drawing to within a half-length of the new leader through six furlongs in 1:11 4/5, and Thiskyhasnolimit was likewise improving his position wider out. Three Day Rush could not maintain his advantage as first Uh Oh Bango, and then Thiskyhasnolimit, had too much momentum in the stretch. The pair soon pulled away from Three Day Rush and the rest of the field.

Thiskyhasnolimit appeared to be traveling the better of the two, and although Uh Oh Bango kept plugging on gamely on the inside, the winner inched away to prevail by a driving length. After stopping the teletimer in 1:37 1/5 on the fast track, Thiskyhasnolimit rewarded his supporters with generous mutuels of $28.20, $13 and $6.60.

"We had a great trip," Bridgmohan said. "He broke well, and we got to settle into a great position on the backside. I was just very patient and waited for a hole to open up, and turning for home it did. He gave me the acceleration that I needed to get home. He is a pretty nice horse. He was a very professional racehorse today."

Uh Oh Bango was himself three lengths clear of Soaring Empire, returning $8.60 and $6.20 as the 7-1 third choice in the 10-horse field.

"He ran huge!" said Glenn Corbett, who rode Uh Oh Bango. "I'm very, very happy with his performance. He was a little bit fresh at the first part of it, but we kind of figured that since he was coming off sprint races. It looks like he can run with these kind, that's for sure. The one-turn mile is pretty demanding, and he might have got just a hair short on us, but there's no embarrassment, that's for sure."

Soaring Empire, the 6-1 second choice, stayed on for third by 2 1/4 lengths and yielded $5. The exotics totaled $282.60 (exacta), $2,955 (trifecta) and $18,590.80 (10-7-8-11 superfecta) with the nearly 14-1 Gleam of Hope (City Zip) closing for fourth. Three Day Rush retreated to fifth. Next came Call Shot (Tale of the Cat); Dublin, who never threatened from off the pace; Brassy Boy (Storm and a Half); Oh Charlie Boy; and Raging Wit. Comedero (Posse) and Fist of Rage (Consolidator) were scratched.

"He never got into the race like he normally does," Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said of Dublin. "He usually just pulls himself into the race, but he didn't today. I just don't know. He's been training wonderful. We'll just step back and analyze him and see."

Thiskyhasnolimit more than doubled his bankroll to $136,236 from his 5-2-1-1 line. The dark bay made his career debut beneath the Twin Spires in June in what turned out to be a key maiden race, finishing second to subsequent Bashford Manor S. (G3) and Sanford S. (G2) winner Backtalk (Smarty Jones). Thiskyhasnolimit broke his maiden by an impressive seven lengths next time out at Churchill. That earned him a tilt at the Saratoga Special S. (G2), where he unfortunately broke a step slow, rushed up to chase the pace, gave way, and faded to last of eight behind D' Funnybone. Thiskyhasnolimit did relatively better to finish third in the Futurity S. (G2) at Belmont, 12 3/4 lengths adrift of D' Funnybone.

"He trained extremely well here (at Churchill) coming into this race and he put forth the kind of race we were expecting," Asmussen said. "Obviously, we were extremely disappointed with his previous two starts because we always had high hopes for him. He looks to appreciate the added distance. His next target will be the Kentucky Jockey Club (S. [G2] at 1 1/16 miles) on closing day (November 28)."

Thiskyhasnolimit is the second registered foal from the Deputy Minister mare Lovely Regina, who is herself a half-sister to champion three-year-old male and $3 million earner Bernardini (A.P. Indy). In 2006, his only season to race, Bernardini won the Preakness S. (G1), Travers S. (G1), Jockey Club Gold Cup S. (G1), Jim Dandy S. (G2) and Withers S. (G3), and concluded his career with a second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill.

Thiskyhasnolimit's second dam is Broodmare of the Year and Grade 1 star Cara Rafaela (Quiet American). In addition to capturing the Hollywood Starlet S. (G1) and Alcibiades S. (G2), Cara Rafaela placed in eight stakes, including runner-up efforts in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), Ashland S. (G1), Santa Anita Oaks (G1), Matron S. (G1) and Las Virgenes S. (G1), and third-place finishes in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Mother Goose S. (G1).

Bred by Stud TNT in Kentucky, Thiskyhasnolimit was listed as sold for $120,000 to his breeder at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Lovely Regina, who is also a half-sister to the Grade 1-placed Ile de France (Storm Cat), has since produced an unnamed yearling colt by A.P. Indy and a weanling filly by Street Cry (Ire).


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