10/04/2008 11:00PM

Sky Diva revives stable's BC hopes


ELMONT, N.Y. - One day after Mani Bhavan finished last as the favorite in the Alcibiades at Keeneland, her stablemate, Sky Diva, rolled to a 3 3/4-length victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette at Belmont Park.

The victory earned Sky Diva a spot in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Oct. 24. Steve Klesaris, who trains Sky Diva for owner Jeff Puglisi, said the Juvenile Fillies is under "strong consideration." Klesaris, who picked up his 1,000th career training victory earlier in the day at Delaware Park, said the multiple stakes-winning Mani Bhavan won't race again this year.

Despite the fact that Sky Diva was making the jump from a debut win against three maidens at Delaware Park, Klesaris was quite confident in her chances in the Frizette. Klesaris's confidence was well-placed as Sky Diva, under Ramon Dominguez, saved ground down the backside, tipped three-wide at the five-sixteenths pole, cruised past pacesetting Gemswick Park in upper stretch, and won comfortably. Persistently, the even-money favorite, rallied to get second by two lengths over Gemswick Park.

"Coming around the turn I knew it was her race," Klesaris said. "Everybody was scrubbing at that point, and Ramon's just waiting to tip her out and get around them. We've liked this filly from Day One."

Sky Diva, a daughter of Sky Mesa, ran the mile in 1:37.40 with Dominguez easing her up inside the sixteenth pole. She returned $13.20 to win.

"She just takes off like she's coming out of a gun," Dominguez said. "She is a combination of everything you want in a horse."

Persistently was the favorite coming out of a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Matron three weeks ago. Under Alan Garcia, she raced along the inside before tipping out wide in the final three-sixteenths, but she was no match for the winner.

"Our plan was to save ground, but she didn't seem like she was real comfortable on the inside," trainer Shug McGaughey said. "Last time, she was carried wide. Once she got outside today, she was fine, but the winner was already too far out in front."

Jamaica: Court Vision turns tables on Gio Ponti

A reversal of trips led to a reversal of fortune for Court Vision in his budding turf rivalry with Gio Ponti.

Receiving a clear trip under Dominguez, Court Vision got first run on a bottled-up Gio Ponti, under Garcia, and outfinished that rival in the stretch to record a three-quarter-length victory in the Grade 2, $250,000 Jamaica Handicap for 3-year-olds.

In the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on July 19, Gio Ponti beat Court Vision with a similar sweeping move while Court Vision had to steady briefly turning for home.

"It was kind of our turn," said Leana Willaford, assistant to winning trainer Bill Mott.

Dominguez picked up the mount on Court Vision because John Velazquez suffered a concussion Friday at Keeneland. Dominguez and Court Vision crept up outside of Gio Ponti down the backside and swung wide around the turn. Down the backside, Gio Ponti got knocked off stride by Wesley.

Around the turn, Garcia had to steady Gio Ponti and go outside a tiring Thou Swell at the quarter pole. Though Gio Ponti was able to find running room in upper stretch, Court Vision outkicked his rival through a rapid final furlong of 11.61 seconds. Court Vision, owned in partnership by the International Equine Acquisitions Holdings Stable and WinStar Farm, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.75 and returned $7.

"I don't want to take anything away from my horse, my horse drew off pretty nicely the last part, but we certainly benefited from a great trip as well," Dominguez said.

Round 3 between Gio Ponti and Court Vision will likely occur in the Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park on Nov. 30.