08/19/2004 11:00PM

Sky Beauty, champion, dies at 14


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Champion and filly triple crown winner Sky Beauty has died in Kentucky at age 14.

Sky Beauty, champion older mare in 1994, was euthanized on or about July 2 at Creekview Farm in Paris, Ky., according to Dermot Ryan, general manager of Coolmore Stud's North American division. Coolmore purchased the Blushing Groom mare from Georgia Hofmann's Wycombe House Stud for $2.85 million at the 1999 Keeneland November sale.

Sky Beauty foaled a Storm Cat colt on May 28 but foundered soon afterward.

"The veterinary team did a good job, but, at the end of the day, it was in the best interests of the mare to put her down," Ryan said.

He confirmed that the popular mare has been buried at Creekview, a division of Coolmore.

Hofmann bought Sky Beauty from Sugar Maple Farm at the 1991 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale for $355,000. Trained by Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens, she had immediate success.

Sky Beauty won her first two starts handily, then captured Saratoga's Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths. She next stepped up to Grade 1 company in the Spinaway and won, but was disqualified and placed third. The DQ was all the more painful because it marred what would have been an undefeated season, as Sky Beauty went on to win her last start of the year in the Grade 1 Matron.

At 3, Sky Beauty emerged as the East Coast's top filly. She dominated the first two legs of the filly triple crown, taking the Acorn by 5 1/4 lengths and the Mother Goose by five. In the third leg, the Coaching Club American Oaks, she won by a half-length, then captured the Alabama by 1 1/2 lengths. She arrived in the Breeders' Cup Distaff off a win in the Grade 2 Rare Perfume, but finished sixth in the Distaff behind Hollywood Wildcat, who went on to take divisional honors.

Sky Beauty finally earned her championship at age 4. She lost just one race that year, when she finished ninth behind winner One Dreamer in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. But her victories in the Grade 1 Shuvee (by 9 1/2 lengths), Grade 1 Hempstead, Grade 1 Go for Wand (by 10 1/2 lengths), Grade 1 Ruffian, and Grade 3 Vagrancy earned her the divisional title.

Sky Beauty raced just three times at age 5. She won her first start of the 1995 season to take her second consecutive Vagrancy, but then finished second in the Shuvee and third in the Hempstead.

At the time of her death, Sky Beauty had produced six foals and three winners, but no stakes performers. Sky Beauty hailed from one of the richest female families of modern times. Her dam was the Grade 1 winner Maplejinsky, and her second and third dam were champion sprinter Gold Beauty (dam of Dayjur) and the great broodmare Stick to Beauty.

In addition to her 2004 Storm Cat colt, who is on a nurse mare, Sky Beauty also has a yearling Storm Cat colt.