07/01/2017 7:58AM

Sunny Skies wins Debutante to cap hat trick for McPeek

Coady Photography/Churchill Downs
Sunny Skies overcame the inside post on a sloppy track and a fast pace to win the Debutante on Friday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – When trainer Kenny McPeek won the Grade 3 Bashford Manor Friday night at Churchill Downs with Ten City, it proved just the start of a memorable night for the trainer.

A race later he took a maiden race with Harlan Strong, and then completed the natural hat trick when Sunny Skies won the $100,000 Debutante.

Sunny Skies overcame a lot to win. Drawn inside in a 12-horse field of inexperienced 2-year-olds, she had to be sent to secure position over a racetrack that had become sloppy after a heavy downpour delayed post time by nearly an hour. After contesting a fast opening quarter-mile in 21.48 seconds along the inside, she had every right to quit, but did not. She shook off all her challengers at the head of the lane, and gradually pulled away for a 1 3/4-length victory over maiden Upset Brewing, with Waki Patriot a neck back in third.

“I let her run away from there more than I probably needed to, but she handled it all well,” said jockey Robby Albarado, who also piloted Ten City for McPeek to victory in the Bashford Manor. “She took the worst of it. But she’s a superior filly and I look forward to her future.”

A daughter of Animal Kingdom owned and bred by Nancy Polk of Normandy Farm, Sunny Skies recorded her second victory in as many attempts, having won her debut by nine lengths at Keeneland April 27. Favored at 6-5 on Friday, she paid $4.60 and completed six furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:11.83.

As with Bashford Manor winner Ten City, McPeek said he is looking to let her develop over the summer before bringing her back in September at Churchill Downs. He said after the race he was looking at the Grade 2 Pocahontas at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 16 at Churchill Downs for her return.

McPeek and Polk won the Pocahontas last year with Daddys Lil Darling, who went on to finish fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. The winner of the Pocahontas earns a berth in the BC Juvenile Fillies.