10/15/2016 6:28PM

Thundering Sky upsets Ancient Secret in Pebbles Stakes


ELMONT, N.Y. - Thundering Sky was beaten by only a head the last time she met Ancient Secret in a one-turn mile race at Belmont Park, in the Wild Applause Stakes in June.

They met again Saturday, in the $200,000 Pebbles Stakes run over a one-turn mile, and Thundering Sky notched a 15-1 upset. She took over in midstretch from pace-setting Believe in Bertie and held off the late-running 51-1 longshot Mom’s On Strike to win by three-quarters of a length. It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Ancient Secret, the 2-1 favorite, in third.

The victory was just the second in 11 starts for Thundering Sky, a daughter of Sky Mesa owned by Matthew Schera and trained by George Weaver.

Thundering Sky was running back just three weeks after finishing third, beaten a half-length, in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen, also a one-turn mile, at Woodbine. That was her first race in two months, since finishing fifth to Ancient Secret in the Lake George, a two-turn, 1 1/16-mile race at Saratoga on July 22.

“We gave her some well-needed time off from her first race at Saratoga, and she came out of that race in Canada so well,” said Blair Golen, assistant to Weaver. “We changed her style a bit. It worked out, and she likes the one-turn mile. She liked it at Woodbine and she liked it here, where she just got beat by Ancient Secret.”

Thundering Sky got a great trip under Antonio Gallardo. Thundering Sky sat fifth, while three wide and in the clear down the backstretch, as an ambitious Believe in Bertie set splits of 22.45 seconds for the quarter, 45.20 for the half, and six furlongs in 1:08.91.

Straightening away in the lane, Thundering Sky made a four-wide move and advanced into second in upper stretch. Thundering Sky took the lead just above the eighth pole, opened a clear margin, and was able to hold a wide-rallying Mom’s On Strike at bay late.

Thundering Sky covered the one mile in 1:33.47 and returned $33.80 to win.

“After watching her last race I knew she would run at the end and I could relax her a little bit,” Gallardo said. “She gave me everything in the end and she kicked on really good.”

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