08/01/2008 11:00PM

Sky Mom reels in Dreaming of Liz in Oaks


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Steve Asmussen had been spotting Sky Mom in races up to about a mile, thinking that the 3-year-old filly would start losing her effectiveness at longer distances. But Sky Mom's closing second-place finish to Storm Mesa in the 1 1/16-mile Iowa Oaks last month started Asmussen thinking differently, and his plan to let Sky Mom run longer bore fruit Saturday at Arlington Park, where Sky Mom won the 1 1/8-mile Arlington Oaks over hard-trying pacesetter Dreaming of Liz.

Sky Mom ($6.40), a mere $27,000 yearling purchase who is owned by Heather Stark, is kind of a throwback, making many more starts than the majority of her stakes-class contemporaries. A daughter of Maria's Mon, She raced eight times last year at 2, and the Grade 3 Arlington Oaks marked her seventh start of 2008. Sky Mom has now won six races all over the country, and the winner's share of Saturday's $100,000 purse boosted her career earnings to more than $462,000.

Rasierra was scratched from the local Oaks, leaving Dreaming of Liz the race's controlling speed, but she took surprising token pressure from Temper Temper, and her splits of 24.42 seconds to the quarter, 48.64 to the half, and 1:13.69 for six furlongs were not all that easy on Arlington's slow-playing Saturday Polytrack.

Meanwhile, Ramsey Zimmerman had broken sharply with Sky Mom, who settled in along the inside racing fifth into the first turn. There she stayed until midway around the far turn, when Zimmerman steered Sky Mom outside and asked her for run. The response was immediate, and Sky Mom quickly went past the second-, third-, and fourth-place horses to engage Dreaming of Liz. The early leader had something left and fought back in the final furlong, but Sky Mom wound up one length on top, with Dreaming of Liz well clear of show-horse Apple Martini. Time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:52.92.