05/20/2013 4:42PM

DRF Breeding Weekend Wrap: Skyring, Sage Valley star on Preakness undercard

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Tom Keyser
Skyring won the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes for Brad Kelley's Calumet Farm one race before stablemate Oxbow took the Preakness.

Oxbow’s upset win in the Preakness Stakes dominated the headlines over the weekend, as the bred-for-stamina Awesome Again colt set an easy pace and coasted to victory under Gary Stevens. His pedigree, if not his front-running style, would seem to be suited for the Belmont Stakes, and as of Monday afternoon Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he would point the newly minted classic winner to the 1 1/2-mile test in New York on June 9.

It was a profitable Saturday at Pimlico for owner Brad Kelley's Calumet Farm, Lukas, and Stevens. One race before the Preakness, the trio teamed up for another upset in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes with Skyring. The 4-year-old English Channel colt took a full field through 1 1/8 miles on Pimlico’s turf course without ever yielding the lead and won by a half-length in 1:47.87, good for a 96 Beyer. He posted his first win since taking the James Murphy Stakes on last year’s Preakness undercard.

Bred by Kelley’s Bluegrass Hall, Skyring is the eighth winner out of the Seattle Slew mare Violet Lady. He is a half-brother to Greenspring, who set a track record for seven furlongs in 1:20.95 when winning the 2010 Grade 2 General George Handicap at Laurel, to stakes winner Caballero Negro, and to three stakes-placed winners. His second dam is Grade 1-winning millionaire Top Corsage, by Topsider.

English Channel, recipient of the 2007 Eclipse Award as champion turf male, stands at Will Farish’s Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky., for $25,000 this year and continues to make a name for himself as a versatile young sire. Skyring, Dixie third-place finisher Optimizer, and Canadian champion 3-year-old colt Strait of Dover are all from the stallion’s first crop, as are Grade 2 winner Blueskiesnrainbows and Grade 3 winner Channel Lady. From his first two crops, English Channel has sired nine stakes winners and four graded stakes winners to date. He has 85 2-year-olds in his third crop, none of which have started as of May 20.

Earlier on Saturday’s Preakness undercard, Sage Valley picked up his first career graded stakes win in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap. The 6-year-old son of Discreet Cat won by 2 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:10.51 for six furlongs, good for a 105 Beyer. He has now won five of eight starts with three thirds for total earnings of $243,200.

Sage Valley was bred in Kentucky by Buck Pond Farm and is out of the multiple stakes-winning Cryptoclearance mare Ashwood C C, who won 17 races overall in her career and earned over $580,000. Discreet Cat, a 10-year-old son of Forestry, stands at Darley’s Jonabell Farms in Lexington, Ky., for $12,500. The winner of three graded/group stakes in 2006, including the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, he earned nearly $1.7 million for his career.

As with English Channel, Discreet Cat’s third crop is currently beginning to populate racetracks across North America, and his first two crops are also represented by nine stakes winners and four graded stakes winners to date, highlighted by Grade 2 winners Discreet Dancer and Mamma Kimbo.