Surging Against the Sky opened up a two-length lead in the stretch and held off favored Lady Raj in the final stages to win her sixth straight race in the $115,036 Ballerina Breeders' Cup Stakes (Can-III) (VIDEO) at Hastings Park in British Columbia Oct. 11.
The 6-year-old Against the Sky scored the first graded win of her career for owner Bob Leffler and trainer Craig MacPherson. But the British Columbia-bred daughter of Regal Mark is no stranger to the Hastings winner's circle. She has won 11 times in 22 lifetime starts, all coming at the western Canada track.
Ridden by Francisco Fuentes, Against the Sky was unhurried in the early going as Include the Grand, pushed along by Lecturing Lynn, set the pace for the opening six furlongs. Include the Grand eventually opened up a three-length lead after Lecturing Lynn broke down.
Against the Sky made up ground quickly while racing slightly wide, getting the lead on the final turn and shooting clear in the short homestretch. She prevailed in a drive by three-quarters of a length over Lady Raj, who was part of a favored 9-10 entry.
With David Wilson aboard, Lady Raj rallied from last after a half-mile and closed smartly while four wide in the lane. The final time for the 1 1/8-mile dirt event for fillies and mares was 1:51.04 on a fast track.
Blue Sky Holiday, recent winner of the British Columbia Oaks (gr. IIIT) for trainer John Snow, was two lengths back in the show spot.
Available for a $20,000 claim as recently as June 21, Against the Sky has won six of seven starts in 2008 with one second. She defeated many of the same rivals in her last race, the Delta Colleen Handicap Sept. 20, in front-running fashion by two lengths over a wet-fast track. The dark bay or brown mare earned $66,582 for the Ballerina victory, pushing her bankroll past the $200,000 mark.
Against the Sky, bred by Samantha Shead and John and Jacqui Shone from Taj Ah Dawn, by Taj Alriyadh, was sent off as the second choice, paying $8.70, $2.80, and $2.40. Lady Raj, coming off a third-place finish in the Delta Colleen for trainer Troy Taylor, returned $2.30 and $2.10. Blue Sky Holiday was $2.30 to show.
Tanika finished fourth, followed by Holy Nova (the other half of the Glen Todd and Patrick Kinsella entry), Include the Grand, and Elkhart. The 3-year-old Lecturing Lynn, a three-time stakes winner this year, broke down at the half-mile pole.