Spy in the Sky, ridden confidently by reigning champion jockey Paddy Young, took command at the final fence of the $75,000 Carolina First Carolina Cup on March 27 and burst clear for a five-length victory in the first graded race on the 2010 National Steeplechase Association schedule. Divine Fortune nipped early front-runner Major Malibu for second in the Grade 2 race over Springdale Race Course’s Carolina Cup course in Camden, S.C.
Winner of last year’s New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase at Saratoga Race Course, Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky had run disappointingly for trainer Jimmy Day and Young in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) at 2 3/4 miles last November.
Young said the six-year-old Thunder Gulch gelding had gained strength over the winter and savored the ground for the 2 1/4-mile Carolina First Carolina Cup on a picture-perfect spring day before a crowd of 68,000 at the historic Camden course.
Mrs. Henry F. Stern’s Major Malibu, ridden by Jeff Murphy for 2009 champion trainer Jack Fisher, jumped out to the early lead and gave up the advantage to Four Schools as the field passed the crowded stands for the first time. Meanwhile, Young took the inside path with Spy in the Sky, who jumped well.
Major Malibu took the lead again as the field entered the long final run down the Springdale course’s backstretch and opened a large lead on the field. But he began to shorten stride entering the homestretch, and Young drove Spy in the Sky to the lead over the last of 14 fences. Spy in the Sky quickly drew clear, and William Pape’s Divine Fortune, always well placed, grabbed the second spot shortly before the finish line. Spy in the Sky ran the Carolina First Carolina Cup’s 2 1/4 miles in 4:27 1/5.