SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Matthew Schera’s Thundering Sky chose a great time to win her first race of the year, edging out the favored On Leave by a neck in Saturday’s $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes.
Jockey Rajiv Maragh and the George Weaver-trained filly sat on the inside of On Leave. The pair stalked the lead set by Proper Discretion and second-place Sky My Sky through early fractions of :24.37, :48.07, and 1:11.51.
Off the far turn, Thundering Sky was forced to wait for an opening after the other three lined up across the course. Maragh finally found her a seam to push through with a furlong to go and she finished just ahead of her foes.
“I just wanted to be patient with her because I thought that she would have one strong run at the end,” Maragh said. “When I asked her in the stretch, she really gave it a good kick. It was my first time riding her and they said she had a tendency to do that (carry the rider high), and today, I tried to keep her focused. I think she was loafing a little bit, but now that I have a feel for her, I think I can do even better next time.”
A 1/2-length behind On Leave, Bar Gold nosed out Elysea’s World, who was another nose ahead of Sky My Sky. Light In Paris, Laur Net, and Proper Discretion. Boreale, Freudie Anne, Puca, and Sassy Little Lila were scratched. Clipthecouponannie was a main-track-only entry.
“Today, she put it together,” Weaver said. “Rajiv gave her a great ride. He timed it perfectly. She ran a big race. We have seen her press and put her on the lead a few times, and we were adamant that we were not going to do that. Some of the horses that scratched were going to show speed anyway, so the speed in front of us was going to help. But there were still a couple (of speed horses) in there, so we were able to stalk and pounce on them, and it worked out.”
With the win, the daughter of Sky Mesa improved her record to 15-3-3-3. The winner’s share of $60,000 increased her career earnings to $316,790.
Thundering Sky returned $28.60 to win, $9.20 to place, and $6.20 to show. On Leave brought back $2.80 to place and $2.40 to show, while Bar of Gold paid $3.70 to show.