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Stakes Recap: Skyring Surprises in Mervin Muniz Memorial
Calumet Farm’s Skyring broke in full stride to make all the pace in Saturday’s Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap over the soft Stall Wilson turf course at Fair Grounds Race Course under jockey Joe Rocco and came home a neck in front of Wachtel Stable et al.’s Amira’s Prince, who won this race that serves as Fair Grounds’ premier grass test last season.
Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Wayne Lukas, Skyring, who finished second by only a nose in the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap here Feb. 22, returned surprisingly generous mutuels of $17.40, $5.20 and $3.20, set early splits of :25.10 and :50.79 before accomplishing the about nine-furlong distance in 1:52.01, and increased his career earnings to $659,061 with his fifth win in 28 lifetime starts.
“When I turned for home and he switched leads for me, he kicked so hard I would have been surprised if anyone ran him down,” said Rocco. “I knew Mike’s horse (Amira’s Prince) was coming for me, but even though the stretch here is so long, I thought we were going to get there.”
Amira’s Prince, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, was allowed to settle behind the early leaders, rallied to be easily second best by three lengths over Mike Maker’s Burn the Mortgage.
“If I could do it all over again I would have followed the horse up the rail and instead won by a head,” said Smith.
Amira’s Prince paid $2.60 and $2.10 and Burn the Mortgage returned $3.60 to show.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Real Solution and Maribel Ruelas’ Potomac River completed the order of finish.