, a four-time Eclipse Award winner and the second leading North American earner of all-time, was elected into racing's Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. His trainer, the late Hubert "Sonny" Hine, was inducted into the Hall of Fame last August.
"How can one woman be so blessed?" questioned Hine's widow, Carolyn, during a Hall of Fame teleconference Tuesday afternoon. "I'm in a dream. It's fabulous. I thank God, and Sonny for getting Skippy in...and the voters as well."Skip Away
, a gray/roan colt foaled in 1993, was bred by in Florida by Anna Marie Barnhart. A son of Skip Trial (who was also trained by Hine), out of the Diplomat Way mare Ingot Way, Skip Away was purchased by Hine for $30,000 as birthday present for his wife, Carolyn, out of the 1995 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s February 2-year-old sale. He returned the colt after bone chips were discovered, but decided to keep him after renegotiating the price to $22,500. The rest, as they say, is history.
In all, Skip Away
won 16 graded stakes. His career slate of 18-10-6 yielded $9,616,360 in earnings. He was named champion 3-year-old colt in 1996, and was champion older male in 1997 and 1998. He was also named Horse of the Year in 1997 after winning four of 11 starts, his last two wins coming in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) and the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). He won the Jockey Club Gold Cup as a 3-year-old in 1996, defeating eventual Horse of the Year Cigar.
"I loved them all," Carolyn Hine said when asked of her most memorable wins. "I'd guess the Breeders' Cup or the Jockey Club Gold Cup when he beat Cigar were the best. I had a lot of respect for Cigar.
"Sonny used to tell me, 'You're not supposed to love a horse that much,'" she said. "And would say, 'Show me in the condition book where it says that.'"
Sonny Hine died in March of 2000 at the age of 69. "I think Skip Away kept Sonny going," Carolyn said. "He gave him some more years, more life. Skippy wasn't a horse to us, he was a member of our family. He was a blessing."
At 3, Skip Away
won the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) by an impressive six lengths prior to running a disappointing 12th in the Kentucky Derby. He rebounded to run second in both the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont (gr. I). He also won the Ohio Derby (gr. II), Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), Woodbine Million (gr. I) prior to his Gold Cup victory.
At 4, he won the MassCap (gr. III) and Suburban Handicap (gr. II) before his repeat in the Gold Cup and Breeders' Cup victory, which was a six-length tour de force under Mike Smith.
At 5, he rattled off seven straight wins--five of them grade I wins--over six different tracks, winning under 130 pounds or more twice before a pair of losing efforts brought his racing career to a close.
He was retired to stud at Hopewell Farm near Lexington where he still stands today. He is the sire of five stakes winners including 2004 graded winner Skipaslew.