As an avid fan of sales with possible aspirations to become an adviser/bloodstock agent, auctions are one of my favorite topics to write about on Past the Grandstand. “After the Auction” feature horses I selected in sales that have found success after the sale.
Princess Arabella only raced three times, but she made her brief career count, winning all three of those starts – including the Sunland Park Oaks – by a combined fifteen lengths. An injury forced her early retirement, preventing her continued display of brilliance. The racing world will never know how truly talented she was, but it does have the opportunity to enjoy the blossoming of her younger half-sister, Super Sky.
At this year’s Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, Super Sky impressed me with the effortlessness with which she completed her 10 1/5-second breeze. This, combined with her notable pedigree, allowed her to become one of my twenty-five selections for the sale, at which she sold for $235,000.
Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber, Super Sky – a fancy chestnut who boasts unique white markings – debuted in late July at the prestigious Saratoga meet, encountering seven adversaries in a five and one-half turf dash for maidens. After breaking in the air and coming into slight contact with a nearby rival, Super Sky was left at the rear of the field – which left her at a severe disadvantage. Displaying greenness that is to be expected from a two-year-old first-time starter, Super Sky finished well to cross the wire in third.
A month later, Super Sky returned in a maiden special weight of the same conditions and was sent off as the heavy favorite in a field of seven. Exiting the gate in a much cleaner manner on this occasion, the chestnut filly tracked the brisk pace while racing on the outside and after encountering minor trouble around the turn, Super Sky rallied down the stretch, but could not match the winner, finishing ¾ lengths behind the winner to end up second.
Making her third career start in October at Keeneland, Super Sky made her first start on an all-weather surface, stretching out to seven furlongs. In the pouring rain, Super Sky broke well and went to the front before settling along the rail behind the leaders. Racing over the wet Polytrack, Super Sky remained in her position along the inside as the rain came down heavily from the sky. Around the bend, jockey John Velazquez began to ask the Todd Pletcher-trained filly for her run, to which Super Sky responded with a surge as she shot through an opening on the rail as the field turned for home. Super Sky began to draw away down the lane, extending her advantage as she left her opponents behind her to score by an easy 3 ½ lengths.
Unlike her half-sister, Princess Arabella (a daughter of Any Given Saturday), Super Sky is a daughter of Sky Mesa. A grade one winner at two and grade one-placed at three, Sky Mesa is the sire of the grade one winners General Quarters and Sky Diva, as well as the additional graded stakes winners Skylighter, Storm Mesa, Terrain, and Thiskyhasnolimit. The Three Chimneys Farm stallion crosses particularly well with mares from the Mr. Prospector sire line, as this cross has produced some of his best progeny, including Sky Diva and four more of Sky Mesa’s graded stakes winners.
This bodes well for Super Sky, as her dam, Tortuga Lady, is from the Mr. Prospector line, being a daughter of the legendary sire’s Kentucky Derby (GI) and Belmont Stakes (GI)-winning grandson, Thunder Gulch. In addition to producing Princess Arabella and Super Sky, Tortuga Lady is also the dam of the graded stakes-placed Dyna’s Lassie and the stakes-placed Cairo Six. As a daughter of Thunder Gulch, she provides her offspring with the same broodmare sire as the grade one winner Star Billing, in addition to the graded stakes winners Crown of Thorns, Daddy Nose Best, and Five Iron. Tortuga Lady is a full sister to Invisible Ink, runner-up in the 2001 Kentucky Derby, and from the same family as Quadrangle, winner of the 1964 Belmont Stakes (GI) and Travers Stakes (GI).