Maragh's timing perfect on Thundering Sky
SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (CMC):
Jamaican Rajiv Maragh made his mark on the lucrative 11-race card at Saratoga racecourse last weekend when he paired with 13-1 outsider Thundering Sky to win the US$100 000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes.
The 32-year-old stalked throughout the mile trip before unleashing a daring stretch run with the four-year-old filly to collar favourite On Leave and Bar of Gold in the dying yards, and win by a neck in a time of one minute, 35.42 seconds.
"I just wanted to be patient with her because I thought that she would have one strong run at the end," said Maragh.
"When I asked her in the stretch, she really gave it a good kick. It was my first time riding her and they said she had a tendency to do that [carry the rider high], and today I tried to keep her focused.
"I think she was loafing a little bit, but now that I have a feel for her, I think I can do even better next time."
With the success, Thundering Sky took her winnings to $316 790 for owner Matthew Schera.
Up against the four-year-old and upward fillies and mares, Maragh broke Thundering Sky sharply from the inside to stalk the leaders, as longshot Proper Discretion produced splits of 24.37 seconds for the quarter mile and 48.07 for the half.
Sky My Sky tracked from second with On Leave keeping tabs in third, while Maragh stayed in touch from fourth.
As the race turned for home, Thundering Sky initially found herself starved for racing room along the rails but Maragh found a small seam and slipped through to take command.
On Leave and Bar of Gold provided a brief but stiff challenge but Maragh got the filly clear with a vigorous hands-ride to reach the wire first.
Trainer George Weaver was full of praise for Maragh.
"Rajiv gave her a great ride. He timed it perfectly. She ran a big race," he said.