Trainer Greg Gilchrist sends out David and Jill Heerensperger’s Sky Mystic, a 3-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa , in the $100,000 California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields Feb. 2. The question is, will the Kentucky-bred filly return to her winning form?
In her last start, the one-mile Corte Madera Stakes run at Golden Gate Dec. 8, Sky Mystic pressed the pace but had no rally for the stretch run. She has tackled one mile before with success, going into the Corte Madera off a 6 ½-length win in a Golden Gate allowance over the same distance. The allowance win came Nov. 21, a little more than a month after her maiden victory at Bay Meadows in a 7 ½-furlong turf event. Prior to that start, she was third in her debut over the Bay Meadows dirt track.
A $400,000 purchase from Fasig-Tipton’s Florida 2-year-old in training sale, Sky Mystic was bred by Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds out of the stakes-winning Pleasant Colony mare Delicacy. She is a half-sister to the Boston Harbor gelding Boston Bull, winner of Belmont’s Cowdin Stakes (gr. III), and is also a half-sister to the stakes-winning Forest Park, a son of Forest Wildcat.
But Sky Mystic faces tough competition from the Street Cryfilly Onebadkitty, owned by a partnership of trainer Brian Koriner, Janet Lyons, and E-racing.com. Bred in California by her owners out of the Sir Cat mare Denali Cat, Onebadkitty launched her 2-year-old season with a 6 ½-furlong victory and has been second in two attempts since then. Her most recent start was the Dec. 29 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes at Santa Anita, in which she finished second to the In Excess filly Spring Awakening by one length. Jockey Russell Baze, closing in on his 10,000th career victory, gets the mount.
Also coming out of the Corte Madera Stakes are the second- and fifth-place finishers, both of which have had varying degrees of success since the 2-year-old event. The fifth-place finisher, Frances Henderson trainee Two Thirds Victory, finally broke her maiden (in her 11th start) by a neck in a one-mile allowance event Jan. 25 at Golden Gate for owner/breeder Dr. George Kypros. She is a California-bred by Peteski's Charm, out of the Flying Continental mare Delay.
Jerry Hollendorfer trainee Christmas Ship, a Montbrook filly out of the Silver Deputymare Show Your Pride, was beaten by Corte Madera winner La Mina by 2 ½-lengths. Bred in Florida by Wiests-Heathers 05, she last ran third by a half-length in a one-mile allowance event at Golden Gate Jan. 11 behind Steven Specht trainee Lady Railrider, a Ride the Rails filly who is also entered in the California Oaks. She has just one career victory from eight starts for owners Erik Amlie, Jerry Hollendorfer, Dan Jelladian, and George Todaro.
The Julio Canani-trained Quiet American filly Seattle Smooth, a $340,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling purchase by Mercedes Stables, the Kafwain filly Twelve Twenty Two (trained by Ronald Ellis for Jay Em Ess Stable), and the Doug O’Neill-trained Shy Baby, an Out of Place filly owned by Suarez Racing and Alex Venneri, complete the field.
$100,000 California Oaks (Race 9, approximate post 4:15 p.m. PST), 1 1/16-miles for 3-year-old fillies*, (all weather track)
*all starters carry 121 pounds
PP, Horse, Jockey
1. Two Thirds Victory (CA), Macario Rodriguez
2. Shy Baby (KY), Mario Gutierrez
3. Seattle Smooth (KY), Martin Pedroza
4. Onebadkitty (CA), Russell Baze
5. Sky Mystic (KY), David G. Lopez
6. Lady Railrider (CA), Frank T. Alvarado
7. Christmas Ship (FL), Chad Schvaneveldt
8. Twelve Twenty Two (FL), Jose Valdivia, Jr.