05/29/2017 6:54PM

S Y Sky narrowly wins Melair Stakes as heavy favorite

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Benoit & Associates
S Y Sky and jockey Joe Talamo win the Melair Stakes by half a length.

ARCADIA, Calif. – For a 2-5 shot, S Y Sky was tested well into the stretch before prevailing by a half-length in Monday’s $200,000 Melair Stakes at Santa Anita.

S Y Sky had the expected trip, stalking pacesetter Miss Sunset, but was fully extended before reaching the front for good in the final furlong of the race for California-bred 3-year-old fillies. Ridden by Joe Talamo, S Y Sky ($2.80) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.69.

“Joe felt like he had plenty of horse, but the other horse didn’t give up,” said Nick Alexander, the owner and breeder of S Y Sky.

“I think the filly is better than she showed today.”

Miss Sunset, a three-time stakes winner and the clear 3-1 second choice, set a moderate pace of 23.51 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.95 for a half-mile, leading by 1 1/2 lengths over S Y Sky. Talamo urged S Y Sky closer to Miss Sunset on the turn and led by a head with a furlong remaining.

S Y Sky and Miss Sunset ran as a team to the final sixteenth before S Y Sky gained an advantage. The first two finishers were well clear of their rivals at the wire. Miss Sunset finished 8 1/2 lengths in front of Queen Bee to You, who was 6 1/4 lengths clear of fourth-place finisher Radish. Ocean Dream was fifth, followed by So Here’s the Thing.

S Y Sky, trained by Phil D’Amato, has won 2 of 3 starts and earned $244,560. She won her debut in the Evening Jewel Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs on April 8 and was second to Zapperkat in an optional claimer against open company at a mile May 4.

Alexander said S Y Sky will be pointed for the $150,000 Fleet Treat Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs at Del Mar on July 30.

This was the third consecutive year D’Amato won the Melair, preceded by Sheer Pleasure in 2015 and the Alexander-owned Enola Gray in 2016.