The Spa Spot: Long shot Spy in the Sky wins Smithwick
Spy in the Sky, the longest shot on the tote board, and jockey Danielle Hodsdon had just enough left at the end of 2 1/16 miles Thursday to win the Grade 1 A.P. Smithwick Memorial steeplechase by a nose.
Sent away at odds of 25-1, Spy in the Sky made it to the winner's circle for the first time since March 2010 and paid $52. Left Unsaid came up just short to the 8-year-old son of Thunder Gulch. All Together was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third.
Favored Divine Fortune finished fifth in his bid to win three consecutive runnings of the Smithwick.
Hodsdon made her move to the lead in the final turn and had a little trouble in the clearing the final fence, but Spy in the Sky showed some grit in the stretch to get the victory.
“I thought he gave all he had," Hodsdon said. "He’s an older horse. He has a nice little turn of foot, but he really just dug in to hold it in the end.
"I hit the lead a little sooner than I wanted. Being he’s an older horse, you don’t want to leave it too late. I was pretty sure he just held on."
Hodsdon smiled at a question about having to go to the outside to put Spy in the Sky in position.
"I have never been that wide on that final turn, but for a little horse, he’s got a big stride and you don’t want to check him behind those horses," she said. "He was traveling and I just thought I better keep his run going. It was wide, but he had a nice run. He was just brilliant. There was a quite a bit of speed. There were three up in front of us that were galloping right along, so he just drafted behind them. It just set up absolutely perfect for him.”
Spy in the Sky made his career debut as a flat runner at Saratoga in 2006 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. He moved into steeplechasing in 2007 and developed into a capable stakes runner. He won the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup in 2009 at Saratoga Race Course.