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Krsto Skye goes from $8,000 claimer to Albany Stakes winner at 62-1

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Shane Micheli/Vassar Photography
Krsto Skye pays $126.40 for winning the Albany Stakes in his turf debut.

Krsto Skye, claimed for $8,000 on April 9 and a winner for a similar tag in his first start for his new barn, stunned the field as he captured Saturday’s $52,675 Albany Stakes as the longest shot on the board at 62-1, winning the five-furlong turf stakes by 1 3/4 lengths.

Rocket Heat, winner of the Grade 3 Turf Sprint on Kentucky Derby Day last year at Churchill Downs, broke sharply and was able to get an open lead in the race that included eight runners who had led in sprints throughout their careers.

With fractions of 21.31 and 44.42 seconds, Rocket Heat opened a one-length lead on Distinctiv Passion down the backstretch. He led Kaabraaj by two lengths at the quarter pole and was 2 1/2  in front of Stormy Rocit in the lane.

Krsto Skye ($126.40)  got a dream trip, sitting sixth in the clear early as five horses were gunning down the backstretch. He began to move up on the turn while staying to the inside before William Antongeorgi III angled him into the clear in the stretch.

The 5-year-old Krsto Skye, a gelded son of City Zip, found a new gear, and there was no doubt who the winner would be as he hit the wire in 56.70 seconds.

Horse Laugh, who sat far back as he usually does, rallied for second without threatening Krsto Skye as he beat Rocket Heat by one-half length for second. The favored Stormy Rocit was fourth another 2 1/4 lengths back.

“I let him get into stride himself, and he just carved his way through there real nice,” said Antongeorgi. “On the turn, I knew I had a lot of horse, and when he got outside, he ran like the even-money favorite.”

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Young trainer Ari Herbertson was not expecting to record his first stakes win as a trainer with Krsto Skye  for his father, owner Scott Herbertson, but he said they had been pointing to the race after Krsto Skye’s front-running claiming victory on April 30 in his first start for them.

“We pointed to the race,” Ari Herbertson said. “He had never run on the grass going short, and his best distance seems to be five or 5 1/2 furlongs. We really wanted to try him on the grass short.”

The Albany turned out to be the only spot where Krsto Skye could run because the other five-furlong turf races in the condition book were $4,000 starter allowance races. Although Krsto Skye had been running in claimers, he had never run for a $4,000 tag.

“We just kind of took a shot,” said Ari Herbertson. “We knew he wouldn’t embarrass us, but we found out a lot more about him than anyone ever knew.”

Herbertson credited exercise rider Taylor Campbell with helping to get Krsto Skye to settle and relax.

The victory was worth $32,250, boosting Krsto Skye’s bankroll to $136,890.

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Photo Credits:   Vassar Photography (Northern CA)  |  Benoit Photo (Southern CA)  |  Michael J. Marten (Southern CA)

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