Skye Diamonds Wins Rancho Bernardo Handicap
Skye Diamonds © Benoit Photo
Claimed for $40,000 a year ago at Del Mar, Skye Diamonds continued her rise to elite status among distaff sprinters with an impressive triumph Sunday in the featured $100,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap for older fillies and mares.
With regular rider Tiago Pereira in the saddle,4-5 favored Skye Diamonds gamely rallied in the stretch to outfinish Constellation and win the six and one-half furlong sprint by one and one-quarter lengths in a swift 1:15.95. The victory was the sixth in eight starts since being claimed by trainer Bill Spawr on behalf of the owner partnership of Lori Allen, Jeff Bloom, Con Acker and Jon Lindo.
Third in the field of five was the 2-1 second choice, Bendable, who was three and one-quarter lengths back of the runner-up and one length in front of fourth-place Munny Spunt. Rockport Babe completed the line-up.
Skye Diamonds, a four-year-old chestnut daughter of First Dude bred in California, returned $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10 while earning $60,000 for her ninth win in 16 career outings. The filly’s earnings now total $509,150. Constellation, a 3-1 shot piloted by Flavien Prat, paid $3 and $2.20, while Bendable returned $2.10 to show.
In her previous race, Skye Diamonds won the Grade II Great Lady M Stakes at Los Alamitos, a race in which Finest City, the champion female sprinter of 2016, finished fourth.
Kent Desormeaux booted in three winners on the nine-race program, scoring aboard Trustworthy at $17 in the first, Red Lightning at $5.20 in the fifth and Tooreen Dancer at $8.60 in the seventh.
Trainer Bob Baffert unveiled a promising two-year-old in Sunday’s fourth race in first-time starter Soul Streit who won impressively under jockey Mike Smith in a swift :57.76 for five furlongs. Soul Streit, a son of Maclean’s Music, was favored and paid $3.60.
TIAGO PEREIRA (Skye Diamonds, winner) – “We had to look for a good spot to position her, but I felt confident all the way around. When I asked her to run in the lane, she was there. She’s a nice one and she ran really well today.”
FLAVIEN PRAT (Constellation, second) – “Good race for her; good trip. In the stretch, when I was on the lead, I thought I was going to get there. But that other filly came running.”
MIKE SMITH (Bendable, third) – “She did a belly flop out of there. Then she couldn’t really catch up.”
BILL SPAWR (Skye Diamonds, winner) – “She was blocked on the rail, they had her pinned in there and I was worried if she would get out in time. Once she got out, though, she’s amazing. She just wants to win. Wants to beat you. She overcomes things. And these are good fillies she’s running against.”
FRACTIONS: :22.46 :45.26 1:09.69 1:15.95
The stakes win was the second of the meet for rider Pereira, but his first in the Rancho Bernardo. He now has five stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer Spawr, but his second in the Rancho Bernardo (Enjoy the Moment 1999). He now has eight stakes wins at Del Mar.
Skye Diamond’s ownership group consists of Lori Allen of Arlington, TX; Bloom Racing of Solana Beach, CA; Con Acker of Huntington Beach, CA, and Jon Lindo of Carlsbad, CA.