01/01/2013 7:42PM

Santa Anita: Sky High Gal holds on at wire in Blue Norther Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Sky High Gal (left) holds off Scarlet Strike to win the Blue Norther Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – She pulled her way into contention on the first turn, had a clear lead in early stretch, and fought off two rivals to stay in front at the wire. Sky High Gal made quite an impression when she made her stakes debut, and first start in California, in Tuesday’s $82,000 Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita.

Sky High Gal ($7.20) won the one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies by a nose over 5-2 Scarlet Strike, who was a nose in front of 19-1 Wittgenstein at the wire. Escape Act, a 15-1 shot, finished fourth, beaten two noses and a neck in the field of 11.

Sky High Gal, ridden by Julien Leparoux, was timed in 1:36.22.

“It didn’t go to plan,” Leparoux said. “She pulled me into the race. She was a little keen on the first turn. She settled on the backstretch. She got a little tired, but she should improve.”

Sky High Gal was second for the first six furlongs, stalking 55-1 Wildcat Angie, who set an early pace of 23.33 and 47.05 seconds. Sky High Gal took the lead when Wildcat Angie faded from contention in early stretch. Wildcat Angie finished last of 11.

Sky High Gal led by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining and was fully extended to keep the win.

“We got lucky,” Leparoux said. “We got our nose in front.”

Sky High Gal was acquired in the fall by Kosta Hronis and sent to trainer John Sadler. Previously trained by Brian Lynch, Sky High Gal was second in her debut at Woodbine in September and then won a maiden race at Woodbine in October. She won an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles on turf by three lengths at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25, her final start for Lynch.

A filly by Leroidesanimaux, Sky High Gal has won 3 of 4 starts and $120,080.