12/20/2014 5:14PM

Sky Flight wins stakes debut in Tropical Park Derby

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Kenny Martin
Sky Flight, making just his fourth career start, scores by a length under Jose Lezcano in the Tropical Park Derby.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.-   What Sky Flight lacked in experience he made up for in talent when he surged late and ran down the 25-1 Cement Clement to register a one-length victory making his stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream Park.

Sky Flight entered the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes having made only three previous starts as far and away the least experienced member among 12 3-year-olds. But under a perfectly judged ride from Jose Lezcano, Sky Flight rated well off a swift early pace, steadied briefly looking for clearance entering the stretch, accelerated suddenly once finding a seam between horses at the head of the lane, and wore down the leader to win going away. The winning time over firm turf was 1:40.25.

In a field seemingly loaded with speed, Cement Clement controlled the pace after setting lively fractions of 23.31 and 46.02 seconds for the opening quarter- and half-mile.  The Penn National-based Cement Clement remained well clear at midstretch but could not contain Sky Flight’s final bid. He did continue on gamely to finish second, a length in front of 5-2 favorite Smooth Daddy. 

Sky Flight, a son of Sky Mesa who didn’t make his first start until September, paid $11.40. Sky Flight is trained by Mark Casse for owner John Oxley.  

“He just continues to move forward, he just continues to get better, and this was a big effort,” said Norman Casse, who serves as an assistant to his father. “At first I was a little upset [Lezcano] didn’t have him in a little more forward position. But obviously the pace was a lot hotter today and Jose did the right thing, had him a little further back. I thought he rode a great race.”

slewof damascus More than 1 year ago
worst ride of the day went to Dunkleberger (who'd have thought) on Daddy's Best, got stopped for no reason entering far turn, then he takes him straight into the middle of chaos in the stretch, all he had to do was keep the gelding in the clear and let him run and DB runs first or second, EASY. Probably first. It's one of the worst rides I have ever seen. Never gave his mount a single chance. The management of the gelding is questionable, too. You telling me he couldn't get a journeyman (professional) to ride this gelding??? Too bad, this 3yo has some talent.
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
sorry looked to me he was just overmatched wait for a drop