Sky Diva Soars Past Frizette Foes
by Karen Johnson
Date Posted: 10/4/2008 6:41:47 PM
Last Updated: 10/31/2008 2:57:13 PM
Sky Diva soars to victory in the Frizette.
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Jeffrey Puglisi’s Sky Diva won the $400,000 Frizette Stakes (gr.I) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park and earned herself a starting berth to the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr.I) Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.
The Steve Klesaris-trained Sky Diva won the Frizette, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event by 3 3/4 lengths over even-money favorite Persistently. Gemswick finished third, two lengths behind the runner-up.
Ridden by Ramon Dominguez, Sky Diva saved ground in mid-pack down the backstretch. Entering the far turn, Sky Diva was in between horses, positioned in fourth. Gemswick Park, who set the pace through a rapid half-mile in :45.96 after an opening quarter-mile in :22.60 while tracked by War Echo, led the field into the stretch. Dominguez guided Sky Diva to the outside of those two at the quarter pole. Once in the clear, Sky Diva quickly accelerated and was clear past the eighth pole.
“She didn’t really get off too sure; she wasn’t the quickest,” Dominguez said. “But she is just an unbelievable filly. She’s a big, big filly and she puts herself into the race with no effort -- for as big as she is. She just takes off like she’s coming out of a gun. She is all horse. She is a combination of everything you want in a horse.
"I was just taking my time. I felt I was on the best horse by far, judging from how well she was moving. I really didn’t want to go inside of Channing Hill (aboard War Echo), so I took my time to get out and it worked well.”
Persistently raced a bit erratically in the stretch and then finished with good energy.
Sky Diva returned $13.20 as the third choice. The exacta, combining Sky Diva and Persistently, returned $37.
The final time was 1:37.40 over a track labeled fast.
Sky Diva, a daughter of Sky Mesa out of the Unbridled mare Swift Girl, was making her second start. She registered a 10-length maiden win in the slop at Delaware Park last month.
The Frizette followed the surprising loss suffered by the Puglisi-owned and Klesaris-trained Mani Bhavan in the Alcibiades (gr.I) Oct. 3 at Keeneland. Mani Bhavan, who entered the Alcibiades undefeated in four starts, finished seventh and last as the favorite.
“We’ve thought very highly of (Sky Diva) for awhile,” Klesaris said. "Coming around the far turn, we knew the race was ours. Ramon, at that point, was just looking to get around horses, while the others were starting to scrub on their horses. We’ve liked this filly from day one; we knew she was special from the first day.
“(The Breeders’ Cup) is a strong possibility. Synthetic surface is something we’re all up against; it’s just a big unknown factor. But regardless, the Breeders’ Cup is a strong possibility for us.”
Sky Diva was bred by John D. Murphy in Kentucky. She was bought by Puglisi for $250,000 in February at Fasig-Tipton’s 2-year-old in training sale at Calder.
The order of finish was completed by War Echo, Coffee in Bed, Heavenly Vision, Winning Brew, Collegiate, Miss Ocean City, and Royal Ballade.
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