04/08/2017 4:41PM

S Y Sky debuts with a victory in Evening Jewel

Emily Shields
S Y Sky (foreground left) paid $14.80 in winning the Evening Jewel Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - S Y Sky has had quite an active April so far. She worked five furlongs Monday at Santa Anita, receiving approval to race after a successful trial from the starting gate.

S Y Sky was entered Wednesday for her debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs. For a first-time starter, S Y Sky ($14.80) performed like a veteran, stalking pacesetter Miss Sunset for the first half-mile before taking the lead in early stretch.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, S Y Sky pulled clear of seven rivals in the final furlong to win by 5 1/2 lengths over 18-1 Radish, in 1:17.52. Miss Sunset, the 3-5 favorite, faded to finish third, a head behind Radish.

S Y Sky is owned by breeder Nick Alexander and trained by Phil D’Amato, who said the filly needed extra attention at the starting gate in recent mornings.

“She needed a little TLC at the gate,” D’Amato said. “She didn’t get gate-approved until her last breeze.”

Miss Sunset, the winner of two sprint stakes, set a quick pace of 21.94 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.63 for a half-mile. S Y Sky raced two or three lengths behind Miss Sunset for the first half-mile.

“I was surprised she showed as much speed as she did early,” D’Amato said. “Joe said she broke sharp. He thought he was loaded at three-eighths.”

Starr of Quality finished fourth, followed by Adios Cali, Cioppino Pasadino, You’re Late, and My California.

S Y Sky earned $110,000 for her debut win.

“We thought we had a chance,” Alexander said. “I think the track being a little slow helped. The speed had trouble holding.”

S Y Sky is by Grazen and was bred by Alexander at his farm in Santa Ynez, Calif. S Y Sky was in training briefly last summer and fall. She resumed training earlier this year and worked consistently through February and March leading to her debut on Saturday.