No matter the distance or running style, Miss Sky Warrior keeps yielding the same result.
Arlene London's homebred filly dispelled any notion of rust on her form when she came with a three-wide move on the final turn to score a half-length victory in the $200,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, her seasonal bow March 4, signaling her arrival on the Road to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1). Watch Video
Miss Sky Warrior had been cooling herself since her front-running victory in the 1 1/8-mile Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack Nov. 26, a win that came 21 days after she registered a win in the one-mile Tempted Stakes (G3). Where she was right up on the lead in those two outings and her maiden triumph, the daughter of First Samurai showed she could rate during the one-mile Davona Dale, sitting a close-up fourth while Modacious and Jordan's Henny traded turns up front through opening fractions in :23.65 and :46.60.
Paco Lopez handled the 2-1 favorite with appropriate confidence, letting Miss Sky Warrior advance outside coming off the final turn and keeping her to task late to record the filly's fourth straight victory and pick up 50 qualifying points on the Oaks leaderboard.
"I'd like to say the farther she goes the better," said trainer Kelly Breen. "Today was a little bit by plan (coming off the pace). The stars were aligned and everything worked out."
The 3-year-old filly division has some deep waters with the presence of multiple graded stakes winners Unique Bella and Farrell. Miss Sky Warrior has shown versatility in her five starts, with her maiden win being a seven-length dazzler going six furlongs at Parx Racing Oct. 15.
"Maybe we'll have to step up our performances to meet (Unique Bella) in the Oaks," Breen said. "But to have a horse of this caliber is a lot of fun."
Miss Sky Warrior recorded a final time of 1:38.49 over a fast track with Jordan's Henny holding for second over Summer Luck, who closed well to get third. Modacious came in fourth and Brahms Cat rounded out the top five in the 14-horse field. The race was marred when Saratoga Citizen went wrong down the backstretch, falling and unseating jockey Jorge Ruiz. Saratoga Citizen was vanned off while Aspen Hilltop was able to walk off after stumbling over the fallen rival.
Grade 1 winner Pretty City Dancer never threatened and finished off the board.
Miss Sky Warrior rewarded her backers with payouts of $6.40, $4.80, and $3.40 across the board. The dark bay filly out of the Conquistador Cielo mare Sky Minister improved her record to four wins from five starts with $461,490 in earnings.