02/02/2008 1:00AM

A rested Sky Mystic struts her stuff


ALBANY, Calif. – Sky Mystic ($7.40), last through the opening half-mile, made a four-wide rally into the lane and outfinished rail-running favorite Seattle Smooth by a neck to win the $100,000 California Oaks on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.

Fourth as the favorite in the Corte Madera in her last start, Sky Mystic was a different runner in the Oaks. She won the 1 1/16-mile race by in 1:45.50.

Sky Mystic came into the Corte Madera off a 17-day turnaround, but had nearly two months since her last start before the Oaks, and trainer Greg Gilchrist said the extra rest made the difference.

Jockey David Lopez said: “When she broke, I put my hands down, and she relaxed. I just was patient with her. I started moving at the half-mile pole but not with everything.

“When she took the lead, she started playing around, but when she felt the other horse, she dug in again."

Seattle Smooth rallied along the rail, inside of pacesetting Twelve Twenty Two. Jockey Russell Baze said Seattle Smooth “was finishing okay, but not as good as I expected her to." "She just wasn’t quite ready for prime time yet, but I do think she’s a filly that will develop into a horse that will really finish,” he said.

The victory, worth $60,000, lifted Sky Mystic's career earnings to $104,700. A 3-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa, she was a $400,000 purchase by David and Jill Heerensperger last year.

“We haven’t seen her best race yet,” Gilchrist said. “She could run a mile and a half, and, if you look at her pedigree, it’s filled with winners.”