05/14/2002 12:00AM

Gold Cup next on Sky Jack's flight plan

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Sky Jack's runaway 5 1/2-length win Sunday in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap established the gray as one of the favorites for the Grade 1, 1 1/4-mile Hollywood Gold Cup on July 14, which will be his next start. "The one thing I know for sure is I won't run him back for a couple months," Sky Jack's trainer, Doug O'Neill, said Tuesday. The Gold Cup, O'Neill said, "is definitely the target."

The Beyer Speed Figure of 115 earned by Sky Jack is the third-fastest Beyer Figure earned this year at a distance beyond a mile, and kept the 6-year-old's record perfect at Hollywood Park. Sky Jack, 7 for 12 overall, is 4 for 4 at Hollywood. Owned by Rene and Margie Lambert, Sky Jack came out of the 1 1/16-mile Mervyn LeRoy in good shape. "He's held his weight, he's eating up, and he looks as good as he did before the race," O'Neill said.

While Sky Jack's speed figure and margin of victory were impressive, the win was not perfect. Jockey Laffit Pincay had to stay busy on the front-runner most of the race, which was unusual because Sky Jack typically runs into the bridle. He also switched back to his left lead midway through the stretch. "Laffit said he was kind of playing around," O'Neill explained. Sky Jack has always been unpredictable in the stretch. In his winning debut May 14, 1999, he ducked in sharply and nearly unseated his rider.

Skimming will miss Del Mar meet

Two-time Pacific Classic winner Skimming will be sidelined at least two months with an unspecified ankle injury that will cause him to miss the summer meet at his favorite racetrack. Skimming is undefeated in four starts at Del Mar, including the San Diego Handicap and Pacific Classic the last two years. Overall, Skimming has won eight races and more than $2.2 million from 20 starts. "He'll be back, but he'll miss Del Mar," trainer Bobby Frankel said Tuesday.

Frankel has won six of the last nine Pacific Classics, and is making plans for another try. "Mizzen Mast is my Pacific Classic horse," said Frankel. The trainer said Mizzen Mast would run in the San Diego on Aug. 4, then back in the Classic on Aug. 25. Mizzen Mast has not raced since winning the Strub on Feb. 2. He was subsequently sidelined with a foot problem.

Marketing push for Redattore in Met Mile

Redattore, a Grade 1 winner on turf and Grade 2 winner on dirt, will try to bolster his rŽsumŽ May 27 when he runs in the Met Mile at Belmont Park. Trainer Richard Mandella said Tuesday that the 7-year-old Redattore came out of his May 5 runner-up finish in the Inglewood Handicap in good shape and is being targeted for the Met Mile.

"It is a great race, people buy stallions off that race," Mandella said, adding "it's up to $750,000 now, and I think it would set up for him." Mandella noted that Redattore has already won the Eddie Read on turf and the San Antonio on dirt, "so to win something like the Met Mile would put a feather in his cap."

Mandella did not rule out the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on turf the same day as the Met Mile, but said he was more likely to be represented by The Tin Man in the Shoemaker. Redattore worked a half-mile Tuesday in 49.80 seconds.

Milwaukee Brew's Big Cap 'no fluke' to Frankel

Milwaukee Brew worked five furlongs Monday at Hollywood and will be favored June 15 in the Grade 2 Californian, the prep for the Hollywood Gold Cup. Trained by Frankel, Milwaukee Brew was a surprise winner of the Santa Anita Handicap March 2, a race that might have been considered a fluke because of his modest form going in.

"It wasn't a fluke; he's a good horse," Frankel said. "And people don't realize how good his race in New Orleans was," said Frankel, referring to a sixth-place finish in the Whirlaway at Fair Grounds before the Big Cap.

Others expected to run in the $500,000 1 1/8-mile Californian include Mandella-trained Out of Mind and Investor's Dream, and Lethal Instrument. Reba's Gold, who skipped the Mervyn LeRoy because he had not recovered from a ship to Texas, also may run.

September Secret has top Railbird figure

Lightly-raced speedster September Secret and relatively seasoned Fun House are probable starters Saturday in the Grade 3, seven-furlong Railbird Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. September Secret scored a pace-pressing allowance win April 17 at Santa Anita (her third start), earning a 101 Beyer that tops the Railbird field. Fun House shortens to one turn after tiring in the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park, her fifth start. Other possibles include Lost at Sea, No Turbulence, Super High, Theresa's Year, and Affairs of State.

On Sunday, Mandella-trained Straight Flush and Frankel-trained Skipping are the leading contenders for the $75,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap. This will be the 13th running of the Jim Murray, which has been won two of the last three years by Mandella, and five times overall by Frankel. Straight Flush might be the horse to beat despite apparently moderate recent form.

Following a runner-up U.S. debut, Straight Flush, an import from Brazil, was tested on dirt, then flat in the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey. "We were pushing him, trying dirt, then a mile and a half," Mandella explained about his form decline. "Now, he's working like he was early in the year." Other expected starters include The Price Spirit, Falcon Flight, and Lasting Tribute.

* Memorial Day weekend could be big for trainer David LaCroix. He will shorten Fonz's to one turn in the seven-furlong Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial Stakes on May 27. The 3-year-old Fonz's has not raced since finishing unplaced in the Illinois Derby. On May 26, LaCroix will start Royal Place in the $65,000 Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes for 2-year-olds. Royal Place won his only start May 1 by three lengths.