Highland Sky rallies to take $100,000 Woodhaven S.
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Highland Sky, a 3-year-old Sky Mesa colt, rallied from last to come out on top in the $100,000 Woodhaven S. Saturday at Aqueduct, giving the dark bay his first stakes win in just his fifth lifetime start.

Luis Saez was in no hurry with Highland Sky early on as he guided his mount to the rail at the tail of the field going into the first turn. Still last in the middle of the backstretch, Saez took Highland Sky off the rail and quickly put himself in mid-pack while four-wide into the final bend.

By the time the field hit the top of the Aqueduct turf stretch, Highland Sky was just off the flank of the leader Mighty Mo, and though the pacesetter dug in gamely, he was no match for Highland Sky in deep stretch.

At the wire, it was Highland Sky by almost a half-length in 1:43.69 on the firm turf.

"We know he wants to go further, and we know he'll like the big turns at Belmont, but for his family, we were really hoping to get a stakes win," said Robin Smullen, assistant to winning trainer Barclay Tagg. "It means a lot to the breeder, Bonner (Young). We've got that under our belt now and we're really, really looking forward to Belmont. Our real goal is the (G1, $1.25 million) Belmont Derby (July 9), with another race in between. If it all works out, maybe the Pennine Ridge (June 4). The timing looks good." 

Highland Sky is owned by his breeder along with Gerald McManis. With Saturday's win, he is now 2-1-0 in five starts and has earned $134,500. Highland is out of the Graded stakes-placed Kristi With a K, who is a half-sister to Queen Elizabeth Cup (G1) winner Bit of Whimsy.

Sky Mesa's penchant for siring stakes horses is evident once again in 2016. He has 8 thus far this year, including Grade 1 winner Giulia.
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