Arlene’s Sun Star Stable’s Miss Sky Warrior took command of Saturday’s $300,000 Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct and never looked back en route to a 13-length romp under jockey Paco Lopez.
The Kelly Breen trainee posted fractions of :23.63, :47.37, 1:11.78 and 1:37.72 before finishing 1 1/8 miles over the fast main track in 1:51.71. The dark bay daughter of First Samurai was sent off the 8-5 favorite and paid $5.30 for her fifth straight win. She had to withstand a claim of foul from Rajiv Maragh, rider of third-placer Full House, for alleged interference but the claim was soon dismissed.
Miss Sky Warrior earned 100 points toward a starting berth in the May 5 Kentucky Oaks (G1) thanks to her win in the Gazelle. The race is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points contests and was worth 100-40-20-10 points to the respective top four finishers.
Lockdown, the 7-1 third choice, took home the 40 points while trying to extend her win streak to three straight. The bay lass broke her maiden and took the Busanda Stakes prior to this start. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Full House, who in turn had 4 1/2 lengths to spare on Stay Fond.
North End, the 9-5 second choice, followed in fifth while Tiz Rae Anna, Rimanisempreforte, Yorkiepoo Princess and Aspen Hilltop completed the order under the wire.
Miss Sky Warrior dropped her debut race last September 11 at Belmont Park, finishing fourth that day, but has been unbeaten since. She earned her first victory at Parx Racing on October 15 and then captured both the Tempted Stakes (G3) and Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct.
The Arlene London homebred returned for her 2017 opener last out in the March 4 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park and scored a half-length victory that day. Her career improved to 6-5-0-0 with the Gazelle win and she’s banked $641,590 in career earnings.
Bred in Kentucky, Miss Sky Warrior is out of the Conquistador Cielo mare Sky Minister and comes from the same female family as Grade 2-winning sire Put It Back.
Paco Lopez, jockey Miss Sky Warrior, winner
“I think I had the best filly in the race today. She broke very well. She’s a very nice filly. It’s up to the owner and the trainer, (but) I hope we can go to the Kentucky Oaks (G1). I was very impressed today.”
Kelly Breen, trainer Miss Sky Warrior, winner
“This is the sharpest I’ve ever seen her going into a race. It had me a little nervous, actually. When she was walking over here she was striking at the groom and she was trying to buck a little bit in the post parade, so it was a good energy that she had.
“The rest of the race to me, you just say ‘wow.’ It was really a powerful performance. I try not to get in Paco’s head too much. I told him if somebody else goes, you can let her go. She’s rated kindly before and she broke super sharp. He even said that when he came off that she broke really sharp. He said, ‘I had to go.’ She relaxed for him and really put up a powerful performance.
“It looks like we’re on to the (Kentucky) Oaks.”
Kendrick Carmouche, jockey Lockdown, second
“We were second-best today chasing a roadrunner. She did everything she had to do to try and win the race. We got second, so I’m happy for the owner and (trainer) Mr. Billy (Mott). She ran her race. She ran good, I’m very proud of her. You can’t ask for too much more.”