Miss Sky Warrior posted a gate-to-wire victory on Saturday in the $300,000 Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct, romping home by 13 lengths with jockey Paco Lopez aboard for trainer Kelly Breen.
Campaigned by breeder Arlene London’s Sun Star Stable, Miss Sky Warrior was never headed and drew off in the lane to complete nine furlongs over the fast main track in 1:51.71.
By doing so, the First Samurai filly earned 100 points toward a starting berth in the May 5 Kentucky Oaks (G1). Miss Sky Warrior brought 60 points into the Gazelle, which is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races and was worth 100-40-20-10 to the respective top four finishers on Saturday. She exited the race with 160 total points and firm control of the second spot on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard, just 10 points behind leader Farrell.
Miss Sky Warrior’s other points came via a pair of wins at Aqueduct last year – the Tempted Stakes (G3) and Demoiselle Stakes (G2) – as well as her sophomore opener on March 4 in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The Kentucky-bred filly is now the only Kentucky Oaks contender with two wins at the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Run for the Lilies thanks to the Gazelle and Demoiselle.
Lockdown boasted 10 points prior to the Gazelle courtesy of a 2 1/2-length score in the Busanda Stakes on January 15. The First Defence filly now sits in 10th on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard with 50 total points.
Full House earned 20 points for running second in the Busher Stakes on February 25 and added another 20 for finishing third in the Gazelle. She would sit in 14th on the Leaderboard but is currently not nominated to the Kentucky Oaks.
Stay Fond was making her stakes bow in this spot off a maiden win last out at Gulfstream Park. Though she earned 10 points for rounding out the top four Gazelle finishers the dark bay daughter of Stay Thirsty is also not nominated to the Kentucky Oaks.
Tiz Rae Anna, Rimanisempreforte, Yorkiepoo Princess and Aspen Hilltop completed the order under the Gazelle wire.
Paco Lopez, jockey Miss Sky Warrior, winner
"I think I had the best filly in the race today. She broke very well. She's a very nice filly. It's up to the owner and the trainer, (but) I hope we can go to the Kentucky Oaks (G1). I was very impressed today."
Kelly Breen, trainer Miss Sky Warrior, winner
"This is the sharpest I've ever seen her going into a race. It had me a little nervous, actually. When she was walking over here she was striking at the groom and she was trying to buck a little bit in the post parade, so it was a good energy that she had.
"The rest of the race to me, you just say 'wow.' It was really a powerful performance. I try not to get in Paco's head too much. I told him if somebody else goes, you can let her go. She's rated kindly before and she broke super sharp. He even said that when he came off that she broke really sharp. He said, 'I had to go.' She relaxed for him and really put up a powerful performance.
"It looks like we're on to the (Kentucky) Oaks."
Kendrick Carmouche, jockey Lockdown, second"We were second-best today chasing a roadrunner. She did everything she had to do to try and win the race. We got second, so I'm happy for the owner and (trainer) Mr. Billy (Mott). She ran her race. She ran good, I'm very proud of her. You can't ask for too much more."