CYPRESS, CA – Claimed for $40,000 last August 27, Skye Diamonds is now a Grade 2 winner after a decisive victory in the $200,000 Great Lady M. Stakes Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Owned by a partnership that includes Tom Acker, Allen Racing LLC, and Bloom Racing Stables LLC, the Bill Spawr-trained 4-year-old won for the fifth time in seven starts since being tagged at Del Mar. The $120,000 top prize increased her career earnings to $449,150, of which she’s banked $288,920 in 2017.
Reserved early by jockey Tiago Pereira while Constellation and Pretty N Cool battled for supremacy, Skye Diamonds began to rally inside of defending champion Finest City approaching the stretch, easily kicked away from the 2016 female sprint champion, collared Constellation inside the 1/8 pole, and went on to win by 2 1/2 lengths.
“My filly has speed, but I wanted to sit off (Constellation and Pretty N Cool),” said Pereira. “I moved when (Finest City) moved, and she was very strong in the stretch.’’
A California bred who has been second in her two defeats since the claim, Skye Diamonds is now 8-for-15 in her career. The win was her second in as many attempts at Los Alamitos, having graduated locally as a 2-year-old during the 2015 Winter meet.
“She was a 3-year-old and she was a trier, which was why we decided to claim her,’’ said Spawr, who has a long history of extremely successful claims including, among others, Exchange and Sensational Star. “We had been watching her a little bit before we claimed her, and it has definitely worked out.”
A First Dude filly out of the Johannesburg mare Exonerated, Skye Diamonds completed the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.79, not far off of the track record of 1:14.48 established by Finest City in the 2016 Great Lady M.
“I could never have imagined this when we first claimed her,” Spawr said. “We started working her on the training track (at Santa Anita) and she loved it. She started running the last 1/4 mile in, believe me, :22 and change, not :23 or :24. That’s when we kind of knew this was a good filly. The day she won an optional claimer (February 16), I was in awe.’’
Making her first start since finishing second in the Grade 1 Madison on April 8 at Keeneland, Constellation finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Finest City. Pretty N Cool and Cuddle Alert completed the order of finish. Avicii and So Sweetitiz were scratched.
Skye Diamonds returned $6.40, $3.40, and $2.40. Constellation brought back $3.80 and $2.80, while Finest City paid $2.10 to show.
Los Alamitos Race Course