Julien Leparoux sent Skylighter to the front, and the Sky Mesa filly just coasted around the track to an easy 4 1/4-length victory in the first stakes on the Preakness day undercard May 16, the $150,000 Allaire duPont Distaff (gr. II) (VIDEO).
Skylighter, trained by Bobby Frankel, was part of an entry, but stablemate Sea Chanter stayed in New York to run in the Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) for Todd Pletcher. Striking Tomisue also scratched to run in the Shuvee, reducing the duPont field to five older fillies and mares.
Skylighter, owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stable, easily cleared her rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Allaire duPont and led them through fractions of :25.37, :49.61, 1:13.30, 1:37.96, and 1:44.34. Sent off at odds of 2-5, she gained command between rivals nearing the first turn and was never pressured during the race.
Through the first turn and down the backstretch, the order never changed, with Skylighter in front, All Smiles and Jeremy Rose in second, and Tammy’s Victress and Gabe Saez in third. Leparoux let Skylighter out a notch in the turn for home, and she had a clear advantage on the rail. Unforgotten and Robby Albarado tried to make a run at her on the outside, but Leparoux had plenty of horse left to cruise under the wire in front.
"She kind of gave them the slip," Leparoux said. "That was good. We had a perfect trip. We got an easy lead, and she had plenty left."
As the heavy favorite, Skylighter paid $2.80, $2.20, and $2.10. Unforgotten returned $3.20 and $2.20, while All Smiles paid $2.40 to show. Tammy's Victress finished fourth and Two Columbus trailed.
Skylighter was bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable, which was acquired by Darley last year. It was the second stakes win for the 4-year-old filly, who last fall won the Indiana Oaks (gr. II) before finishing second in the Falls City Handicap (gr. II). The Allaire duPont was her second start of 2009, the first a fourth in an optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park in February.
"After (Sea Chanter) was scratched -- we took her to New York-- that was pretty much what she had to do, go to the front," said Charlie Boden, a Darley representative. "It was a pretty heady ride by Mr. Leparoux, a pretty easy go."
Skylighter, who won her fourth race in 11 starts, is out of the Broad Brush mare Painted Lady. The winning share of $90,000 increased her earnings to $451,212.