11/26/2016 4:41PM

Miss Sky Warrior shows she can handle longer distance

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John Bambury
Miss Sky Warrior's victory in the Demoiselle was her third straight win.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though Miss Sky Warrior appeared to tire in the late stages of her victory in the one-mile Tempted Stakes last out, trainer Kelly Breen had no doubt in the 2-year-old filly’s ability to go a longer distance.

Breen’s confidence was rewarded Saturday at Aqueduct when Miss Sky Warrior scored a front-running, half-length victory over race favorite Jamyson ‘n Ginger in the Grade 2, $300,000 Demoiselle. It was 6 3/4 lengths back to Bonita Bianca in third and another 5 1/2 lengths to Libby’s Tail in fourth. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez’s runners finished second, third and fourth.

The win was the third straight for Miss Sky Warrior after she lost her debut at Belmont in September.

Breen said his confidence in Miss Sky Warrior’s ability to go a distance was based on his belief she would prefer two turns to one.

“I felt like the two turns was a better [fit],” Breen said. “She’s a very big filly. I think when she changed leads last time out it was a matter of fatigue from her being a little bit confused about the long backstretch [run].”

Miss Sky Warrior, under Paco Lopez, led the way into the first turn and set fractions of 23.65 seconds for the quarter and 48.82 for the half-mile with Libby’s Tail off her flank.

Libby’s Tail, under Javier Castellano, crept a little closer around the far turn, but by the quarter pole she began to tire as Jamyson ‘n Ginger, sixth early, launched her bid and moved into second. Straightening away in the stretch, Miss Sky Warrior began to kick clear and Jamyson ‘n Ginger, under Irad Ortiz Jr., began to drift out.

Miss Sky Warrior maintained a straight course, and that proved the difference. Miss Sky Warrior, a daughter of First Samurai bred and owned by Al and Arlene London, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.34 and returned $13.20 to win as the third choice.

“We did not have to be on the lead,” Breen said. “I told Paco to take back. Telling Paco to take back and you’re in front by a half-length you’re doing okay.”

It was the second stakes win on the day for Lopez - he also won the Comely with longshot Verve’s Tale - and the 1,998th win of his career.

“Coming into the race Kelly told me, ‘you can hold her today and come from behind, either third or fourth,’ " Lopez said. “When the gates opened it laid out a little different.”

The Demoiselle gave Miss Sky Warrior 10 qualifying points to the Kentucky Oaks, which is May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Breen said Miss Sky Warrior would ship to south Florida and likely return to the races, potentially at Gulfstream Park, in February or March.

Rodriguez and Ortiz both felt that Jamyson ‘n Ginger may have felt the effects of running back three weeks after finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. Rodriguez said she would get a rest.

Bonita Bianca, who rallied from last to finish third, would likely run in route races during Aqueduct’s winter meet, while Libby’s Tail, beaten 12 3/4 lengths when fourth, would likely cut back to one-turn races next year.