John C. Oxley announced that his grade I winner Sky Mesa is being retired from racing to stand at Robert N. Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky., for a fee of $30,000 live foal. "By the time we get him over his foot bruise, we'll have missed the remaining top races of this year," Oxley said. "It's time to start his new career at Three Chimneys."
Sky Mesa will stand as the property of Oxley and Three Chimneys and there are no plans right now to shuttle him.
"Sky Mesa was a brilliant racehorse with lousy luck," said trainer John Ward. "I thought we had the 2-year-old champion, but he missed the (Bessemer Trust) Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) when he wrenched an ankle, and then the Triple Crown races with another mishap. He ran a really good race to be second in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) and was just getting back in good form when he had the setback in the Travers (gr. I)."
Sky Mesa retires with earnings of $633,076, winning three of six starts. At two, he had three wins in three starts, including the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II). and a maiden win at Saratoga by 7 1/4 lengths. He was one of the pre-race favorites for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and ultimately the co-third highweight on the Experimental Free Handicap for males, at 122 pounds.
At three, Sky Mesa was third in his first start of the year, the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) to Strong Hope. In the Haskell Invitational Handicap, he was second to Peace Rules, finishing 7 1/4 lengths ahead of dual classic winner Funny Cide, before being unplaced in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga.
"The response to Sky Mesa has already been terrific," said Clay. "He was an undefeated grade I stakes winner at two, his pedigree is amazing, and we have grade I winners Golden Bri, Hidden Lake, and Beautiful Pleasure already on his book."
Sky Mesa is by Pulpit, out of graded stakes winner Caress (by Storm Cat), and descends from the female family of La Troienne. His second dam is by Affirmed and is a half-sister to champion Outstandingly. Sky Mesa was bred by Harbor View Farm and purchased by Oxley for $750,000 at the 2001 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Sky Mesa is scheduled to arrive at Three Chimneys Sept. 26.