Paddy Young rode Spy in the Sky (r) to victory in the 78th running of the $75,000 Carolina First Carolina Cup Steeplechase Grade II in front of 68,000 spectators.

The 6-year-old gelding I sowned by Jim and Melinda Carter’s Randelston Farm and is trained by Virginia-based conditioner Jimmy Day.

Young said he thought Saturday’s ideal weather conditions were a factor in the victory. The past two years, the race was run in wet conditions.

“It’s always nice to get a second chance,” Young said. “Not that I think I did anything wrong in the fall, but I do think there were things I could have done better.”

Spy in the Sky closed a gap of several lengths over the final 14 fences of the course and cruised home ahead of Divine Fortune and Major Malibu by a five-lengths margin. Major Malibu had jumped to an early lead.

“I think the track suited him a little bit better because he was still weak in the fall,” Young said. “It’s a shorter track, so more speed. I said to Jimmy during the week, if he runs hard, I don’t think he’s going to get beat.”

Spy in the Sky, the son of 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch, has won at the highest level of U.S. Steeplechasing. He broke through last year when he swept from off the pace for a 10 1/4-length triumph at Saratoga Race Course.

(Photo by Tracy Glantz/The State)