05/19/2012 3:42PM

Pimlico: Skyring scores in James W. Murphy

Jenny Burgos
Skyring (2), with Joel Rosario riding, holds on to win the James W. Murphy.

BALTIMORE -  Most observers might have thought D. Wayne Lukas had little chance Saturday with Optimizer in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, but that didn’t keep the Hall of Fame trainer from having a great time earlier in the day. Lukas followed his win with Hamazing Destiny in the Maryland Sprint Handicap with an 8-1, hard-fought, front-running upset by Skyring in the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes.

“It’s a lovely day,” said Lukas.

[PREAKNESS STAKES: Replays and recaps from Saturday's Pimlico card]

Skyring, with Joel Rosario aboard, had to survive a jockey’s objection by Erick Rodriguez, the rider of third-finisher Mr. Handsome, for alleged interference at the top of the stretch in the one-mile turf race, but the Pimlico stewards quickly dismissed the claim. Skyring, on the lead throughout after breaking smartly from post 2, held on to prevail by a neck over Easy Crossing, the 2-1 favorite, with Mr. Handsome, a 23-1 shot, just another nose back in third in a field of 11 3-year-olds.

Skyring, a Kentucky-bred colt owned by the Bluegrass Hall LLC of Brad Kelley, returned $19.60 to win after finishing in 1:35.64 over a firm turf course. An English Channel colt, he now has posted back-to-back upsets on major racing dates, having won a first-level dirt allowance early on the May 5 Kentucky Derby undercard in his prior start.