02/27/2010 12:00AM

Aurora Lights gets clear to win Sabin

Bob Coglianese
Aurora Lights upsets the Grade 3 Sabin at Gulfstream Park under jockey Cornelio Velasquez.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Aurora Lights has already proven to be a very good horse on artificial surfaces. She may be even better on dirt.

Aurora Lights, who captured the Grade 3 Selene over the artificial track at Woodbine at 3, added another Grade 3 victory to her resume by rallying to a 2 3/4-length victory over Matchless Orinda in Saturday's at Gulfstream Park.

Aurora Lights, a daughter of Pulpit, was steadied along in some tight quarters while trapped between horses just behind the pace of Matchless Orinda. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez eased Aurora Lights four wide approaching the stretch, from where she overtook the tiring leader near the sixteenth pole and won going away.

Matchless Orinda held on gamely to finish second, a neck in front of the pace-pressing Amazing. Justwhistledixie, the 7-5 favorite in a scratch-reduced field of six older fillies and mares, raced just behind the early leaders while kept along the rail throughout but failed to muster a closing response, ultimately finishing a disappointing fourth.

Aurora Lights, who finished third in Calder's Grade 3 Stage Door Betty Handicap in her only previous start on dirt, is trained by Eric Coatrieux for the Chiefswood Stable. She paid $23 after covering the distance in 1:37.79 seconds.

"Obviously she's a better dirt horse," said Coatrieux. "We tried her once on the lawn, but it wasn't a very good track that day. She might wind up back on grass eventually, but I'm not going to put her there for a while now. I thought there would be a little more speed early in this race. She's a long-striding filly and doesn't want to jump out of the gate and go 100 miles and hour, but once she got clear on the turn I felt good about her chances."

Coatrieux said he would either bring Aurora Lights back in the Grade 2 Rampart here on March 20 or wait to run her later this spring at Churchill Downs.

Changing Skies gets up in the The Very One

Jockey Kent Desormeaux celebrated his 40th birthday in high style, winning three races Saturday at Gulfstream Park, including the aboard Changing Skies for trainer Bill Mott.

Changing Skies, a 5-year-old daughter of Sadler's Wells, was making her U.S. stakes debut in the 1 3/8-mile The Very One. Group 3-placed in France earlier in her career, Changing Skies bided her time in mid-pack under patient handling from Desormeaux, swung four wide while commencing her rally into the stretch, and then wore down Nehantic Kat to register a three-quarter-length victory.

Cable, the tepid 7-2 favorite in a field of 13 fillies and mares, lost considerable ground around the final bend before finishing best of all. She wound up third, 1 1/4 lengths further behind Nehantic Kat.

Changing Skies covered the distance in 2:16.27 seconds over a course downgraded from firm to good shortly before the race. She paid $10.

"I was worried she might get rank early breaking from the outside but she settled nicely," said Mott, who trains the winner, a homebred, for owner Ben Sangster's Swettenham Stud. "We'll definitely consider the Orchid here for her next start."

The $150,000 Orchid, like The Very One a Grade 3 race, will be run at a mile and one-half on March 28.