09/24/2003 11:00PM

Sky Mesa retired, to stand at Three Chimneys

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Grade 1 winner and 2003 Haskell runner-up Sky Mesa has been retired from racing and will enter stud at Kentucky's Three Chimneys Farm. The 3-year-old Pulpit colt will stand his initial year for a $30,000 stud fee.

Sky Mesa bruised his left front hoof while finishing last in the Aug. 23 Travers Stakes and has not started since. The injury led to a separation of the hoof wall and fluid build-up in the hoof, but after extensive treatment the colt returned to galloping in mid-September. But, owner John Oxley and trainer John Ward determined that there was no longer enough time left to prepare Sky Mesa adequately for a fall campaign, which they had hoped would culminate with a start in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

"By the time we get him over his foot bruise, we'll have missed the remaining top races of the year," Oxley said. "It's time to start his new career at Three Chimneys."

Three Chimneys, the Midway, Ky., stallion station owned by Robert Clay and his wife, Blythe, bought an undisclosed percentage in Sky Mesa in June, securing the horse's place on their stallion roster for the 2004 season.

Sky Mesa was a leading light among last year's juveniles when on the eve of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile he wrenched an ankle. He was the morning-line favorite for the Juvenile on the strength of his three victories in three starts, first in a Saratoga maiden race, and then in the Grade 1 Hopeful and Grade 2 Breeders' Futurity.

Sky Mesa returned at 3 but missed the Triple Crown, finally making his first start in the Dwyer. He finished third behind Strong Hope that day, then finished second to Peace Rules in the Haskell.

Among the mares in Sky Mesa's first book are 1999 champion older mare Beautiful Pleasure, 1997 champion older mare Hidden Lake, and Grade 1 winner Golden Bri, Robert Clay said.

Sky Mesa is out of the Storm Cat mare Caress, a Grade 3 winner who also is the dam of graded-stakes-placed Monthir. Sky Mesa was to arrive at Three Chimneys in Midway, Ky., at Friday afternoon.

For Schettine, it's all or none

William Schettine surprised the sales world with his sudden decision not to sell his 58 weanlings and mares at the upcoming Keeneland November sale. The dispersal was to include Felicita, the dam of Grade 1 winner Take Charge Lady, in foal to A.P. Indy.

Schettine may not sell at Keeneland, but the mares are tentatively on the market, provided that a Florida-based breeder wants to buy them as a package. Schettine hasn't set a price yet, and he says he realizes it's unlikely that someone will step forward. "I just don't want to break my broodmare band up," he said. "It's too nice a band."

Schettine said that realization caused him to reverse his decision to disperse the stock.

"I think I've assembled one of the finest young broodmare bands in the country," he said. But he acknowledged that keeping up with his racing stable, three stallions, the mare band, and his businesses in real estate, manufacturing, and energy have put him in what he calls "a time-management crisis."

"I feel stretched, and the mares and babies probably take up about 70 percent of my time in the Thoroughbred business," he said. "I'm not a very good absentee owner, to be honest. I'm either going to make some management changes so I don't have to live and breathe them or I'm going to sell them as a group."

Habibti, Sharp Cat in Keeneland auction

Keeneland may have lost Felicita for its Nov. 3-13 breeding stock sale, but it has at least two others sure to draw bidders. Keeneland confirmed Thursday that the family of the Thoroughbred Corp.'s owner, the late Prince Ahmed Salman, will sell multiple Grade 1 winner Sharp Cat and two-time Grade 1 winner Habibti in the auction.

Both mares will sell on Tuesday, Nov. 4, as part of the Mill Ridge consignment. Sharp Cat, a 9-year-old daughter of Storm Cat, is in foal to Gone West. Habibti, a 4-year-old Tabasco Cat filly, is in foal to Point Given.

Keeneland had scheduled the auction to begin on Nov. 2 to accommodate Schettine's dispersal. Schettine's decision to cancel his dispersal prompted Keeneland to begin the sale on Nov. 3.

Etc.

Storm Creek, sire of Grade 1 winner Stormy Pick, will relocate from Taylor Made Farm near Lexington, Ky., to Rancho San Miguel in California for the 2004 season. His fee will drop from $10,000 to $7,500. . . . Claiborne Farm has announced it will form Claiborne Farm Bloodstock Services under the direction of Bernie Sams. The new service, which will open Oct. 20, will engage in stallion promotion and recruitment and will assist breeders in acquiring stallion shares and seasons. . . . Multiple stakes winner Surachai will be relocated within California from Lakeview Thoroughbred Farm to Ballena Vista Farm. Ballena Vista, located in Ramona, Calif., will stand him in 2004 for $3,500. The 10-year-old Slewpy horse is the sire of the winner Mental Floss from his first crop.