07/19/2002 11:00PM

Island Skipper, ahoy!


MIAMI - Jose Rivera II made the most of the first mount he accepted in more than a week when he guided Island Skipper to a surprising 2 1/2-length victory over Sebastian Light and six other 3-year-olds in Saturday's $50,000 Roman Brother Stakes at Calder.

The Roman Brother was originally scheduled to be run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf but went at the same distance over the main track.

Rivera, who served a suspension last week, drove Island Skipper past the embattled leaders, Sebastian Light and Thiscannonsloaded, midway down the backstretch. Island Skipper quickly drew clear and was not seriously menaced the remainder of the way. Sebastian Light was easily second best, finishing nearly six lengths in front of Thiscannonsloaded, the 6-5 favorite.

Island Skipper paid $57.80 after covering the distance in 1:46.01 over a fast track. He is trained by Fred Warren for the Golden Age Stable.

"I thought he was a nice horse all along," said Warren. "He's well-bred but needs to go a distance. You won't see him going short again. I also think he'll run on both the turf and main track."