ELMONT, N.Y. – Strait Gate Stable’s Sapphire Sky and jockey John Velazquez were content Sunday afternoon to watch the 32nd running of the $109,000 Bouwerie unfold ahead of them. With a steady rain falling most of the day, they weren’t in a hurry to get mud thrown in their faces early on in this seven-furlong sprint for three-year-old New York-bred fillies.

So, they waited. And waited. And waited.

Suddenly, as the leaders bunched up front after setting an early pace of 21.69 and 44.94, Velazquez turned his mount loose on the turn, and she glided around her rivals to take a clear lead into the lane and power on to a 4 ¾-length victory in 1:24.19 on the sloppy/sealed track.

“Well it worked out good!,” Velazquez said. “I knew there was going to be a lot of speed; I just wanted to be where she was comfortable. The only thing that she did was she surprised me around the turn…all of a sudden, man, did she start running! I thought that was way too soon, but at that point there’s nothing you can do, you just keep her going forward and she responded.”

Sapphire Sky returned $10.40 to the $2 win players in the crowd of 3,330.

It was the third victory in eight career starts for the Sky Mesa filly, and halted a two-race streak of runner-up finishes. It also made a special day even more special for trainer David Donk, who was attending a 50th anniversary party for his parents.

“We were happy with the rain – she broke her maiden by more than 13 lengths in the slop,” said Tom Borgeson, winning owner and breeder of Sapphire Sky. “Down the stretch she really dug in. We’re in no rush to do anything with her. We’d like to run her this year and next year, and have some fun.”

Ampart Ridge, Karakorum Fugitive, Ouchy Night, favored What a Pear, More Oats Please, Goodday, La Concerto and Yo Karakorum trailed.

“She did not handle the sloppy going,” said Joe Parker, trainer of What a Pear. “Channing (Hill, jockey) told me she was jumping around. The Black-Eyed Susan [Pimlico, May 15] is still under consideration.”

Added Hill: “She didn’t handle that stuff out there at all. She went right down the bottom. They say she may still go in the Black-Eyed Susan and I’m on board for that. I’d throw this race out – I haven’t lost any faith in her.”


BOUWERIE QUOTES

Tom Borgeson, winning owner/breeder of Sapphire Sky (No. 7; trainer David Donk was at his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, according to Borgeson): “We were happy with the rain – she broke her maiden by more than 13 lengths in the slop. Down the stretch she really dug in. We’re in no rush to do anything with her. We’d like to run her this year and next year, and have some fun.

Winning jockey John Velazquez: “Well it worked out good! I knew there was going to be a lot of speed, I just wanted to be where she was comfortable, the only thing that she did was she surprised me around the turn…all of a sudden, man, did she start running! I thought that was way too soon, but at that point there’s nothing you can do, you just keep her going forward and she responded.”

Joe Parker, trainer of beaten favorite What a Pear (No. 3): “She did not handle the sloppy going. Channing (Hill, jockey) told me she was jumping around. The Black-Eyed Susan [Pimlico, May 15] is still under consideration.”

Channing Hill, jockey of What a Pear: “She didn’t handle that stuff out there at all. She went right down the bottom. They say she may still go in the Black-Eyed Susan and I’m on board for that. I’d throw this race out – I haven’t lost any faith in her.”