Animal Kingdom’s US-bred daughter Sunny Skies has become his first stakeswinner with a decisive victory at Churchill Downs on Friday evening.
A thunderstorm made the skies anything but sunny, and the subsequent 50-minute delay made the six-furlong $US100,000 Debutante S. LR for 2YO fillies more than usually testing. However, Sunny Skies took it all in her stride, taking up an early lead alongside Rockin’ Royalty and skipping clear in the straight to hold off Upset Brewing’s late challenge by 1.75 lengths, with Waki Patriot third.
Watch Sunny Skies win the Churchill Downs Debutante S. LR (TDN Race Replay)
Sunny Skies gave Animal Kingdom the perfect start to his northern hemisphere stud career when she won her Keeneland debut by nine lengths on 27 April. Bred and raced by Nancy Polk’s Normandy Farm, Sunny Skies is out of the unraced Marquetry mare Skyscape, and is a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Sky Cape.
Animal Kingdom’s first Australian 2YOs have given him a good start “downunder” with 12 of his 16 runners weighing in this season. His five winners include Group 3-placed winner Lord Cecil, Flemington winner Royal Phoenix and TDN Rising Star Earth Angel, who has major Spring targets on her 2017/18 agenda.
Animal Kingdom has completed his fourth northern hemisphere season at Darley America and returns to Arrowfield where he will be available this Spring at a fee of $27,500 inc. GST.