Irish Warrior Nips Decarchy at Hollywood; Sky Jack Fades

(from track report)
Irish Warrior charged from seventh at the head of the stretch under jockey Alex Solis to beat favorite Decarchy by a nose in Friday night's $65,348 allowance feature at Hollywood Park.

Native Desert, a 10-year-old with earnings of $1.8 million, finished third in the feature, while fellow California bred and defending Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) champion Sky Jack faded to sixth after setting the pace in his first start since Aug. 25.

Irish Warrior, trained by Wally Dollase, covered 1 1/16 miles over the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:41, paying $8, $3.80 and $2.60. Decarchy, ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., paid $3.80 and $2.60. Native Desert, with Gary Stevens up, returned $2.40 to show.

Irish Warrior, a 5-year-old chestnut horse, earned $37,200 to boost his bankroll to $253,500. He has won five of 16 starts.

Sky Jack, winner of the Mervyn LeRoy (gr. III) and Gold Cup here last summer, underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his right knee after finishing 11th in the 2002 Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar. The speedy 7-year-old was hooked from the start by Lord Jim, but fought gamely into deep stretch under jockey Patrick Valenzuela.

"I think it was a dynamite effort, a gutsy effort," trainer Doug O'Neill said.

Sky Jack, who was only starting on the turf for the fourth time, is bidding for a return appearance in the 64th running of the Gold Cup on July 13.

Tyler Baze, meanwhile, rode three winners on the program to move into fourth place in the jockeys' standings with 25 victories through 38 days of the 65-day meeting.

(Chart, Equibase)