Despite a delay of nearly an hour due to severe weather that rolled through the Louisville area, Sunny Skies displayed plenty of poise for a youngster making just her second career start as she cruised to a front-running, one-and-three-quarter length victory in the Listed Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs June 30.
The field of 12 juvenile fillies were held in the paddock for close to an hour as a severe thunderstorm hit the area. Racing on a sloppy surface for the first time, the daughter of Animal Kingdom broke alertly and went to the front, where she was soon joined by Rockin Royalty and the pair zipped through a swift opening quarter of :21.48.
Sunny Skies shook off that rival leaving the far turn, but then faced a new challenge from Waki Patriot. The duo matched strides briefly at the top of the stretch before Sunny Skies drew clear. She then easily held off a late bid from Upset Brewing to post the victory.
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Normandy Farm, Sunny Skies is out of the unraced Marquetry mare Skyscape, and is a half-sister to G2 winner Sky Cape (Najran).
Sunny Skies remains perfect in two career starts. In April, she became the first starter and first winner in the Northern Hemisphere for her sire, Animal Kingdom. The stallion’s Southern Hemisphere winners include TDN Rising Star Earth Angel, Platinum, and Lord Cecil.
Animal Kingdom stood the 2017 breeding season at Jonabell Farm for a fee of $30,000, stands and nurses.