Sky Jack On Cal Cup Classic Trail Again

(from Santa Anita notes)
Sky Jack is ready for his Cal Cup close-up again. The California-bred gelding is being prepared for another go-round in the $250,000 California Cup Classic on Nov. 8, his first start since winning the Longacres Mile (gr. III) at Emerald Downs on Aug. 25.

He won the 2000 Cal Cup Classic.

"He's doing great," said trainer Doug O'Neill said. "Our goal when we brought him back was to try and make a race like the Cal Cup Classic."

The 7-year-old Sky Jack won the Longacres Mile by six lengths in a track-record time of 1:33.

Overall, Sky Jack has a 10-2-2 record from 18 starts, with earnings of $1,115,127 for his owners, Los Angelinos Rene and Marjorie Lambert, who race as Ren-Mar Thoroughbreds. But it hasn't been easy.

"In his condition, he's day-to-day, race-to-race, all those clichés, but if he's healthy enough, sure, we'd love to continue to race him beyond this year," said O'Neill, who needed two wins entering Thursday's card to tie Bob Baffert's Oak Tree record of 21 set in 1998 and equaled in 1999. "Sky Jack has had three knee surgeries and two colic surgeries, so he's had his problems. But he's a warrior. He's amazing. If they were all like him it'd be an easy game."

Probable for the Classic: Continental Red, Julie Krone; Grey Memo, Kent Desormeaux; Hot Market, Pat Valenzuela; Kedington, Tyler Baze; Mr. Joe C, no rider; Sky Jack, Russell Baze; and Tizbud, Victor Espinoza.

In other Cal Cup developments:

Sweetcakesanshakes, prepping for the $150,000 John Deere Distaff at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf, worked five furlongs in company with the Peter Levine-trained Party Pirate in :58 4/5 Thursday on Santa Anita's fast main track. The drill inadvertently was omitted from the work tab. "She worked good and she finished good," trainer Leonard Dorfman said of the 8-year-old mare. "I don't know if she's as good as she used to be but we'll find out. She's ready to run."

Grey Memo, back for his third consecutive attempt to win the Classic, worked one mile Wednesday in 1:40 3/5. "He's coming up to the race fine," said trainer Warren Stute. "I'm very lucky that he keeps sound. There's not much we do."

Summer Wind Dancer, prepping for the TVG Distance Handicap at 1 ¼ miles on turf, worked five furlongs on the main track in :59 3/5 for Jenine Sahadi.