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SKY HIGH GAL CONCEDES EARLY LEAD & TAKES OVER LATE TO WIN $75,000 MIZDIRECTION STAKES; SMITH GUIDES SADLER FILLY TO 1 ¼ LENGTH SCORE
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 25, 2014)—Ridden by Mike Smith, Sky High Gal popped the gate and went straight to the early lead in Sunday’s $75,000 Mizdirection Stakes, but willingly conceded the pole position to Biorhythm and Drayden Van Dyke going to the half mile pole, rating kindly in second position to the furlong marker before going on to an impressive 1 ¼ length score while getting 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:13.17.
“She jumped out of there extremely well so I let her do what she wanted the first hundred yards and we picked up a good rhythm,” said Smith. “I saw the Proctor horse (Biorhythm) come up on my outside and I was happy about that.
“She seemed pretty rank though and in the bridle, so I didn’t want to go head and head and set it up for a closer. I surrendered the lead a little bit and gave my filly a second wind and if she was good enough, she was good enough, and she was.”
Trained by John Sadler and owned by Kostas Hronis, Sky High Gal, a 4-year-old filly by Leroidesanimaux, notched her second win from four tries down Santa Anita’s unique hillside layout. Her overall record improved to 9-5-1-1, and with the winner’s share of $46,800, she increased her earnings to $232,533.
“She’s usually in front, but when Drayden’s filly took the lead, we happily sat second,” said Hronis. “It was a pleasant surprise to see her relax as well as she did. When we crossed the dirt, I thought we had a shot. She’s a tough little filly.”
Off at 5-1 in a field of six fillies and mares, Sky High Gal paid $12.60, $6.20 and $4.60.
Sadler indicated that he’d give Sky High Gal a freshener and “I’ll look for something at Del Mar moving forward.”
Trained by Tom Proctor, Biorhythm, who was off at 9-2, battled gamely for the place, holding longshot Qiaona and Victor Espinoza off by 1 ½ lengths. Biorhythm paid $5.40 and $5.00.
“The guys in the mornings have been doing a good job getting this filly to settle down and getting her mind right,” said Van Dyke, Southern California’s leading apprentice jockey. “When we crossed the dirt, I thought we had a chance to hold the winner off. My filly prefers to be hand ridden, but when Mike came to me, I went to the stick a little and she really dug in. She ran big.”
Idle since Nov. 17 at Hollywood Park, Qiaona was off at 9-1 and rallied from last at the half mile pole to finish third, a length clear of Tribal Spy. Qiaona paid $5.00 to show.
Adjusted first post time for a nine-race card on Monday, Memorial Day at Santa Anita is at 1:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.