07/08/2017 8:47PM

Skye Diamonds holds off Finest City in Great Lady M.

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Benoit & Associates
Skye Diamonds recorded his first graded stakes win with the Great Lady M.

CYPRESS, Calif. - Skye Diamonds won Saturday’s Grade 2 Great Lady M. Stakes for female sprinters at Los Alamitos to record her first graded stakes win.

In the greater context of her 15-race career, Skye Diamonds has undergone a remarkable transformation in the last 11 months. She was claimed for $40,000 at Del Mar last August and has earned $329,100 since being claimed for the partnership of Tom Acker, Allen Racing, Bloom Racing, and Jon Lindo.

“She’s just a good filly,” trainer Bill Spawr said.

Skye Diamonds ($6.40) won the $200,000 Great Lady M. Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs by 2 1/2 lengths over Constellation, who finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Finest City, the winner of the 2016 Great Lady M. Stakes and the champion female sprinter of 2016.

Finest City rallied four-wide from fourth in a field of five, but could not keep pace with Skye Diamonds in early stretch. Skye Diamonds was timed in 1:14.79.

“She was very strong in the stretch,” winning rider Tiago Pereira said.

Finest City holds the Los Alamitos track record of 1:14.48, set in the 2016 Great Lady M. Stakes. She won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita last November. Constellation won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs at Santa Anita last December.

“We beat two Grade 1 winners,” Lindo said.

Skye Diamonds won from just off the pace. She was three-wide on the backstretch in third, in pursuit of Constellation, who ran an opening quarter-mile in 22.26 seconds. Constellation and Pretty N Cool fought for the lead around the turn, with Skye Diamonds and Finest City outside of them.

Skye Diamonds took the lead in the stretch and had an advantage by a head with a furlong to go.

“When they straightened away, she has that kick,” Spawr said. “I knew it was over there.”

Finest City was beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Skye Diamonds as the 6-5 favorite. Pretty N Cool faded to finish fourth, 1 1/2 lengths in front of 71-1 Cuddle Alert.

Avicii and So Sweetitiz were scratched early Saturday.

Skye Diamonds has won two stakes this year, beginning with the Dream of Summer Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at a mile on dirt at Santa Anita on March 26. She was second in the Grade 3 Adoration Stakes for fillies and mares at Santa Anita on May 7, finishing a half-length behind Vale Dori, a Grade 1 winner earlier this year in the Santa Margarita Invitational.

Skye Diamonds, a 4-year-old filly by First Dude, has won 8 of 15 starts and earned $449,150 in her career.

Spawr said Skye Diamonds will be pointed to the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 13.