A thoroughbred owner since 1986 and daughter of the Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt racing family of Houston, Heather Stark made her first trip to Arlington Park on Saturday afternoon.
"What a great place," she said with a big smile to track chairman Richard Duchossois. "I've never been here."
Her smile was just as big moments earlier when Sky Mom rallied for a 1-length victory over Dreaming of Liz to win the 29th running of the Grade III, $100,000 Arlington Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.
The bay daughter of Maria's Mon won for the sixth time in 15 career starts and at the fifth consecutive different track.
She won races earlier this year at Sunland Park in New Mexico and Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
Sky Mom was second in the Grade III Iowa Oaks on June 27 in her last start.
"What are the chances of a filly doing what she has done so far?" said Stark, whose horses are trained by Steve Asmussen, the nation's top trainer who has a 48-horse local stable run by assistant Tony Mathiasen.
"Sky Mom is a great shipper," Stark said. "She has run at different tracks, different places, different surfaces and with different riders and has been so consistent. Everyone in the Asmussen organization has done a great job." The new rider this time was Ramsey Zimmerman, who kept the second betting choice (2-1) in fifth on the rail most of the way.
He swung her to the outside on the final turn of the 1-mile Po1ytrack event and got clear from the pace-setting Dreaming of Liz (3-1) in the final 16th.
The game Dreaming of Liz, owned by Arlington leader Frank Calabrese, battled on gamely when overtaken by Sky Mom.
"She (Dreaming of Liz) came back on me, but my horse had enough to hang on," said Zimmerman, who also won the first stakes meet of the year with Lord Carmen in the James Tafel Illinois Owners Stakes. "When it was time to go, she (Sky Mom) had a big kick."
Trainer Chris Block's Apple Martini ran third at 11-1 while 2-1 favorite Day of Victory ran fourth.
Sky Mom raised her career bankroll to $452,891.
"Richard Galpin (bloodstock agent who died earlier this year) recommended this horse to our family to buy (Keeneland yearling sales) two years ago." Stark said. "Everything this filly does is like filling on the cake because she's just a little filly with such a big heart."