Claimed for $40,000 last Aug. 27, Skye Diamonds is now a Grade II winner after a decisive victory in the $200,000 Great Lady M. Stakes Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Owned by a partnership that includes Tom Acker, Allen Racing LLC and Bloom Racing Stables LLC and trained by Bill Spawr, the 4-year-old First Dude filly won for fifth time in seven starts since being tagged at Del Mar. The $120,000 top prize increased her career earnings to $449,150 of which she’s banked $288,920 in 2017.
Reserved early by jockey Tiago Pereira while Constellation, the 3-1 third choice and Pretty N Cool battled for supremacy, Skye Diamonds began to rally inside 6-5 favorite and defending champion Finest City approaching the stretch, easily kicked away from the 2016 female sprint champion, collared Constellation inside the eighth pole and went on to win by 2 ½ lengths.
Out of the Johannesburg mare Exonerated, Skye Diamonds, the 2-1 second choice in a field reduced to five after Avicii and So Sweeitiz were scratched, completed the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:14.79, not far off the track record of 1:14.48 established by Finest City in the 2016 Great Lady M. She paid $6.40, $3.40 and $2.40.
A California bred who has been second in her two defeats since the claim, Skye Diamonds is now 8-for-15 in her career and the win was her second in as many attempts at Los Alamitos. She graduated locally as a 2-year-old during the 2015 Winter meet.
“She was a 3-year-old and she was a trier was why we decided to claim her,’’ said Spawr, who has a long history of extremely successful claims, including, among others, Exchange and Sensational Star. “We had been watching her a little bit before we claimed her and it has definitely worked out.
“I could never have imagined this when we first claimed her. We started working her on the training track (at Santa Anita) and she loved it. She started running the last quarter mile in, believe me, 22 and change, not 23 or 24 (seconds).
“That’s when we kind of knew this was a good filly. The day she won an optional claimer (Feb. 16) in (1:08.91) I was in awe.’’
Making her first start since finishing second in the Grade I Madison April 8 at Keeneland, Constellation finished 2 ¼ lengths in front of Finest City. Pretty N Cool and Cuddle Alert completed the order of finish.
Winner of the Grade I La Brea last Dec. 26, Constellation returned $3.80 and $2.80 while the show price on Finest City was $2.10.
After seven consecutive races on turf, Ambitious Brew responded with an off the pace victory in the $100,690 Bertrando Stakes.
After tracking pacesetter Taman Guard and Smokey Image for most of the journey, the 7-year-old Tizbud gelding took over the lead in upper stretch and wasn’t seriously menaced the rest of the wire.
Ridden for the first time by Norberto Arroyo, Jr., the 4-1 third choice in the field of seven California bred or sired older horses completed the one mile in 1:35.60 while defeating 10-1 shot Magic Mark by 1 ¾ lengths.
The win was the ninth in 25 starts for Ambitious Brew, who is trained by Marty Jones for owner-breeder Pamela Ziebarth. The $60,000 payday increased his earnings to $669,425.
It was the second stakes score at Los Alamitos for the dark bay. He captured the E.B. Johnston Stakes during the 2015 Los Angeles County Fair meet.
Racing resumes Sunday at Los Alamitos. Post time is 2 p.m.
There will be a Los Alamitos earbuds giveaway – one per paid admission while supplies last.
Source: Los Alamitos Race Course