Trainer John Ward said Thursday that he is leaning toward running Sky Mesa in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3 instead of the Jim Dandy (gr. II) at Saratoga. "I'd say I'm 60-40," Ward said.
Trainer John Ward, believing that Funny Cide will be vulnerable in his first start since the Belmont, has opted to run Sky Mesa against the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner in the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 3.
Some six weeks after his bid for the Triple Crown ended in the Belmont Stakes (gr.I), the Funny Cide merchandising bandwagon has started rolling into his hometown, Saratoga Springs.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide turned in a sharp 6-furlong work in 1:12 4/5 at Belmont Park Monday, in preparation for the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 3.
Trainer John Ward is hoping the 2003 version of the Go For Wand Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga is better for Forest Secrets than it was last year. Last year, the Debby Oxley-owned mare injured her left front ankle in the 1 1/8-mile race, which sent her to the sidelines for the remainder of the year.
Managing partner Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable said Funny Cide will accept the 123 pounds assigned Friday for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 3 at Monmouth Park.
Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I), will carry highweight of 123 pounds in the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I), Monmouth Park's signature event for 3-year-olds, on Aug. 3.
John Ward, trainer of Sky Mesa, having already stated he's not crazy about the weight spread for the Jim Dandy Stakes, said Thursday that his colt's next start will be determined by the weights for the Haskell Invitational, to be released tomorrow.
In the much-anticipated return of Sky Mesa, it was Eugene and Laura Melnyk's rapidly-improving Strong Hope who held on for victory in Sunday's $150,000 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) by a head over Nacheezmo, with Sky Mesa settling for a non-threatening third.
Belmont Park will celebrate the Fourth of July holiday weekend by offering six graded stakes worth more than $1.35 million. The weekend action gets underway with Friday's running of the Prioress Stakes (gr. I) and also includes the Suburban Handicap (gr. I).
- By Steve Haskin
Edmund Gann's Midas Eyes, breezed 5 furlongs in a sharp 1:00 1/5 Monday morning, in preparation for next Sunday's grade II Dwyer Stakes, which is shaping up to be a classy, competitive race.
Hero's Tribute, Sky Mesa, Dynever, and three of Christophe Clement's fillies turned in recent works at Belmont Park.
Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker worked 5 furlongs in a quick :58 3/5 at Belmont Tuesday, while Sky Mesa, who is pointing for the July 6 Dwyer Stakes, went the same distance in :59 flat.
John C. Oxley announced today that he has entered into an agreement to stand his grade I winner Sky Mesa at Robert N. Clay's Three Chimneys Farm
John Oxley's undefeated Sky Mesa, who has not run since his victory in last fall's Lane's End Breeders' Futurity, breezed 6 furlongs in 1:14 1/5 Monday morning in preparation for the July 6 Dwyer Stakes.
John Oxley's undefeated Sky Mesa, who has not run since suffering an injury on the eve of the Breeder's Cup Juvenile, will make his long-awaited return in the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park on July 6.
While leading Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contenders Funny Cide, Empire Maker and Dynever are getting most of the attention these days, it wasn't long ago that Sky Mesa, Vindication and Toccet were the darlings of the current 3-year-old class.
After talking to owner John Oxley on Monday, John Ward said that Sky Mesa's Kentucky Derby status is "very clouded," and that he feels the colt should not be a single betting interest in next week's second Derby Future Wager.
In spite of a brutal winter storm that hampered wagering in several key racing markets in the Midwest and East, Pool 1 of Churchill Downs' 2003 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) closed strongly on Sunday and ended with the mutuel field as a record-setting favorite.
Odds on Trust N Luck, off the board in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool at greater than 99-1 prior to his Fountain of Youth (gr. I) victory at Gulfstream Saturday, fell to 23-1 near the close of wagering Saturday.
The field remained the solid favorite at 6-5 over each of the 23 named betting interests at the conclusion of the second day of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager's opening pool Friday.
Reflecting the lack of a solid favorite, or any favorite at all, Kentucky Derby Future Wager bettors hammered the field down to the even-money favorite after the first day of wagering in pool one Thursday.
Overlays were the rule on the first day of the 2003 Kentucky Derby Future Derby Wager as the bettors took a cautious approach, making the field the even-money favorite Thursday.
Kafwain and Sky Mesa are among the 3-year-olds nominated to the April 5 race.
Handicapper Mike Battaglia has established the mutuel field as the favorite for the first round of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool that opens at noon on Thursday, Feb. 13 and continues through Sunday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Sky Mesa had his third work toward the Florida Derby; Todd Pletcher counts Bham, Lion Tamer, and Indy Dancer among his charges; plus other workout notes from Florida.
In the first weekly installment looking at leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby, Vindication tops the list compiled by Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse.
A bone scan performed Tuesday confirmed that the injury suffered by Sky Mesa was a minor one.
Six of the eight winners on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships card at Arlington Park Oct. 26 are expected to race in 2003, if all goes according to plans. Three winners--Orientate, Domedriver, and Starine--could run again this year.
John C. Oxley's Sky Mesa, the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), was scratched Friday morning after sustaining an apparent sprain of his right front ankle.
When post positions were drawn Wednesday at Arlington Park for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), the connections of Sky Mesa didn't want to be too far outside or too far inside. After the son of Pulpit was awarded the No. 9 spot, everyone breathed a sigh of relief, according to Donna Ward, who assists her husband, trainer John Ward.
Sky Mesa not only likes to be on time, he likes to be early. And that has made life interesting for his connections.
John Ward Jr. doesn't remember ever running a 2-year-old 1 1/8 miles. And he would prefer not to do so now. But that's the distance for the longest ever Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and the trainer is blessed with the ideal candidate, Sky Mesa, a colt with stamina in his bloodlines and a running style that fits two turns.
Keeneland had a number of Breeders' Cup contenders on the grounds Monday morning making final preparations for Oct. 26.
When they go to the post for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), the likely favorite will be Sky Mesa.
Take Charge Lady, Xtra Heat lead Bluegrass parade of Breeders' Cup contenders.
Sky Mesa, crowned leader of the juvenile division off his victory in the Hopeful (gr. I) at Saratoga, will face five foes on Saturday, in the $400,000 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II) at Keeneland, in his final prep for the Breeders Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Oct. 26.
The sky will not be the limit should the 'Sky' exacta hit Saturday at Keeneland in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II). The heavy favorite in the race will be Sky Mesa and the second choice will probably be Lone Star Sky.
Keeneland's Fall Meet opens Friday and several racetrack stars are working toward weekend stakes races.
Upcoming events on both sides of the Atlantic could have a significant impact on the field for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Storm Flag Flying and Vindication were made the favorites in the Breeders' Cup Future Bet for the juvenile championship races to be contested Oct. 26 at Arlington Park as part of the World Thoroughbred Championships.
Storm Flag Flying remained an overwhelming 1-2 favorite in thesecond day of the Breeder's Cup Future Bet for the $1 million Juvenile Fillies division.
Storm Flag Flying was made the overwhelming 1-9 favorite Friday, the first day of Breeders' Cup Future Bet for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. On the male side, the $1 million Juvenile favorite is Vindication, heavily supported as well at 7-5.
The final parimutuel future betting opportunity before the Breeders' Cup Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park on Oct. 26 runs from Friday to though Sunday with the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies pools.
Two talented colts made important strides this past weekend in their quest to win the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
n the latest graded race for juveniles, trainer Bob Baffert led a sweep of the top four positions in the Sept. 11 Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) on the closing-day card at the southern California oval. The effect of the seven-furlong race on the Bessemer Trust Juvenile remains to be seen, however, as Baffert said winner Icecoldbeeratreds is more of a sprinter and will be kept at one-turn races.
<b>Saratoga Notebook: </b>Ward Compares Sky Mesa to Fusaichi Pegasus; Biding His Time With Booklet; Take Charge Lady Breezes for Gazelle; Frankel Brings Out His Top Guns
More reserved than than usual after the race, trainer John Ward compared Hopeful winner Sky Mesa to a couple of other nice horses he's been around: champion Beautiful Pleasure and Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.
Sky Mesa, Winner of the Hopeful stakes, is in fine form the day after his sparkling effort, according to his trainer.
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