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Santa Anita: Sky Kingdom takes to marathon distance in Tokyo City Cup
ARCADIA, Calif. - Sky Kingdom had never run beyond 1 1/16 miles before Saturday’s $100,750 Tokyo City Cup over 1 1/2 miles on the main track at Santa Anita.
Such marathons races will definitely figure in future plans for Sky Kingdom.
Racing near the lead throughout, Sky Kingdom took the lead after a mile and pulled clear of seven rivals in the final furlong to win the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup by 3 3/4 lengths for his first career stakes win.
The victory was the 10th stakes win of the winter-spring meeting for trainer Bob Baffert and the fourth for jockey Martin Garcia.
“It’s exciting when you don’t know how they’ll do,” Baffert said. “I was taking a shot at the race.”
Sky Kingdom ($12.20) was timed in 2:30.56, finishing well clear of runner-up Oilisblackgold. Richard’s Kid, who won the Grade 1 Pacific Classic in 2009 and 2010 and was sixth in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2, finished third.
Calidoscopio, a 10-year-old Argentine-bred who won the Breeders’ Cup Marathon last November in his American debut, could only finish fifth as the 5-2 favorite. Dhaamer, second in the 2012 Tokyo City Cup, finished sixth in the field of eight.
Garcia had Sky Kingdom in second-place for the first mile, chasing the 25-1 outsider Batti Man, who set an early pace of 24.81 and 48.94 seconds.
“He relaxed early and when I asked him, he took off,” Garcia said. “I wanted to let someone go and get to the outside. It was a pretty good pace for a mile and a half.”
Sky Kingdom, a 4-year-old colt by Empire Maker, earned $60,000, and has won 4 of 9 starts and $233,730. Owned by Westrock Stables, Sky Kingdom was fourth in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity in 2011 and fifth in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes in 2012 in his only other stakes appearances.
Honestly, I'm surprised Sky Kingdom was allowed to go off as high odds as he did. Sky Kingdom has always hinted at being talented, as evidenced by that CashCall 4th. He had two solid preps under his belt, is at the age where he's just coming into himself and has fresh legs(compared to others in the field), is bred to run all day, and has tactical speed. That last quality, tactical speed, was huge in this race because with Oilisblackgold being taken back today, there was only Batti Man for Sky Kingdom to deal with; and Sky Kingdom was able to get the perfect trip stalking that runner on the outside. With that position, Garcia took advantage of very easy 3rd and 4th quarters(after a decent opening half) to save something for the stretch. The 6 furlong split was about 2 seconds slower than the corresponding split from the BC Marathon, even though that race was a full quarter mile longer. The race shape really worked against Richard's Kid and Calidoscopio, but I would have liked to see them outfinish Oilisblackgold. When that runner made his move on the turn to threaten the winner, he left Richard and Scopio a quick 5 lengths behind. For Richard's Kid, at least he showed some life to get up 3rd. But he just has no speed anymore(and Baffert had gotten him to show some speed when he first came back from Dubai), and his late run is a lot less explosive and flatter. If I owned Richard I wouldn't throw in the towel yet. It's clear since the racing turned to dirt at Santa Anita in the Fall and Winter that Richard is much less effective on it compared to synth. However, even on synth, I don't think Richard has enough pop to win major 10 furlong races anymore. The best chance to make some money with him is to hope the Prove It stakes(11 furlongs on Cushion Track) fills, try to get a minor placing in the Hollywood Gold Cup(or maybe just skip it depending on from), and then target the Cougar. If he runs well in the Cougar, try to get a 4th placing in the Pacific Classic and call it a career. Scopio just might need the full 14 furlongs to win graded stakes in the US. He definitely needs more pace to run at. The race flow certainly did him no favors. But that's the danger as a one dimensional runner.
That was just awesome, I loved Oilisblackgold out of his last race, but i did not expect him to go 12 flgs.When they turned for home it was no surprise he was really into the race, I thought ok lets see if he can handle this distance,but it was SkyKingdom who was truly the acid test winner!Its funny that i just accidentally typed Animal Kingdom earlier instead of Sky Kingdom.He has just becomeAK status horse of the marathon circuit!
When is Baffert going to realize, Jacito doesnt like a distance. Shorten him up, down the hill or on the dirt, I bet he wakes up !
Bob, Aaron is pouring Westrock,Sunday morning. Enjoy.
What in hell have they done to Scopio? Better get him back into that clean, rare air in the Andes and ship him to run. He no-likey smog, that's for sure. Winner ran big...
This horse is bred from top to bottom to cover this distance. I've got to imagine the Brooklyn Handicap and Greenwood Cup are likely goals from this point forward.
- 1.Posted 12/08/2013 09:52AM
- 2.Posted 12/07/2013 07:42PM
- 3.Posted 12/08/2013 06:24PM
- 4.Posted 12/05/2013 04:54PM
- 5.Posted 12/07/2013 03:42PM