Arlene London's homebred Miss Sky Warrior will head to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) on a roll after securing her fifth straight victory—this time in spectacular fashion—April 8 in the $300,000 Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Racing comfortably on the lead in-hand for jockey Paco Lopez, Miss Sky Warrior cruised through a half-mile in :47.37 and six furlongs in 1:11.78 while tracked by Lockdown before shifting to a gear her eight 3-year-old filly rivals didn't possess. Given a nudge, Miss Sky Warrior quickly drew off, opening 10 1/2 lengths in midstretch and extending that margin to 13 at the wire.
The rider of third-place Full House, Rajiv Maragh, filed an objection against the winner, claiming interference in the first turn. The stewards dismissed the objection.
Trained by Kelly Breen, Miss Sky Warrior completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.71. The victory gives her four straight graded stakes wins. The daughter of First Samurai entered off a victory in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) March 4 at Gulfstream Park.
"This is the sharpest I've ever seen her going into a race. It had me a little nervous, actually," Breen said. "When she was walking over here, she was striking at the groom, she was trying to buck a little bit in the post parade, so it was a good energy that she had.
"The rest of the race to me, you just say 'wow.' It was really a powerful performance. I try not to get in Paco's head too much. I told him if somebody else goes, you can let her go. She's rated kindly before and she broke super sharp. He even said that when he came off that she broke really sharp. He said 'I had to go.' She relaxed for him and really put up a powerful performance."
Lopez was confident throughout the race.
"I think I had the best filly in the race today. She broke very well. I didn't want to make the lead, but the filly pulled me and I let her go—perfect trip," Lopez said. "She's a very nice filly. I was very impressed today."
Favored Miss Sky Warrior returned $5.30, $3.30, and $2.60 across the board, while runner-up Lockdown returned $5.90 to place and $4 to show. Full House paid $5.30 to show. Stay Fond finished fourth. North End, the second choice at 9-5 off an impressive maiden special weight win March 17 on the Aqueduct inner track, tired and finished fifth.
The top four finishers from the Gazelle earn qualifying points to the Kentucky Oaks on a 100-40-20-10 format. Kentucky-bred Miss Sky Warrior now ranks second on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 160 points. She is out of the winning Conquistador Cielo mare Sky Minister, who has produced nine other winners.