BALTIMORE, 05-19-12 – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas saddled Skyring to win the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes, his second stakes victory in as many races on Saturday’s Preakness Day undercard at Pimlico Race Course.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Skyring captured his first stakes triumph in his first start on the turf. The bay colt ran the one mile on the turf in 1:35.64, besting Easy Crossing at the finish by just a neck. Mr. Handsome finished third, a nose behind Easy Crossing.
Lukas, a five-time Preakness winner, saddled Hamazing Destiny to victory in the Maryland Sprint Handicap one race earlier on the card.
Bluegrass Hall LLC owns Skyring, who paid $19.60.
James Murphy Stakes Quotes
D. Wayne Lukas (winning trainer, Skyring)– “This horse I liked the best of all mine all day long. I felt real good about him. I was anxious to get him on the grass. Corey rode him at Churchill and loved him. We said, well, English Channel, maybe we should try the grass. It really worked out well. I knew at the top of the stretch when they swarmed him, I said to myself, 'He isn't done yet.' This horse really tries.
“Turf horses usually have a lot of trouble going wire to wire. It's usually a closer, somebody on the outside blowing by them. If you're a trainer, you're not always happy to see your horse cruising on the lead, no matter how easy it is.
"In the morning, I had to quit working him with other horses for the simple reason that there's no such thing as an easy work with him. He thinks we're getting paid at 6 a.m.
"This is the first time he ever saw (grass) except when he was grazing on it as a baby. Never been on it in his life. I wouldn't have any hesitation putting him back on the dirt, either. I think he's very versatile. I even flirted with the idea of switching these two horses (Skyring and Optimizer). But when I found out this race was a mile, I didn't think Optimizer would have any chance."
Joel Rosario (winning jockey, Skyring) – “It was a perfect racing for me and my horse. He went to the lead and started playing around, but I could tell he was trying hard at the end. The boss told me, he tries hard and never gives up. He was certainly right.”
Rich Decker (racing manager, Easy Crossing, 2nd)– “He ran a good race. This race was a little short for our horse. He didn’t embarrass us. I knew he wouldn’t.”
Ramon Dominguez (jockey, Easy Crossing, 2nd)– “I had a great trip. The horse gave me all he had, but he just couldn't get up there at the end. I thought he would be able to get there but the horse up front was pretty good. He dug back in again. I'm very happy with the way he ran."
Tim Tullock (trainer, Mr. Handsome, 3rd)– “He ran dynamite, super good. He had a little bit of a troubled trip. I think without the trouble he could have gotten there. You’ve got to feel good about that.”
Erick Rodriguez (jockey, Mr. Handsome, 3rd)– “There were a couple of speed horses in there so I just wanted to sit off them. When I tried to make my move, the rail was open, then the 2 came down and took me out of it. I had to take hold and go around again. He ran a really game race and a really good race.”