04/01/2009 11:00PM

Sky Mystic's fitness level a big question


Trainer Greg Gilchrist was pretty confident when he entered Wild Promises in the 1 3/8-mile Yerba Buena last year at Golden Gate Fields. Saturday, his Yerba Buena runner is Sky Mystic, and Gilchrist isn't so confident.

Wild Promises won last year's Yerba Buena, a turf marathon for fillies and mares, by 1 1/2 lengths, her second in a string of six straight victories. Sky Mystic, on the other hand, is making just her second start in more than a year.

Sky Mystic went on the shelf for a year after breaking a pastern in a hind leg after winning the California Oaks in February 2008. She was last in her return against stablemate Victorina in the Feb. 7 Campanile locally.

There is no doubt Sky Mystic has the talent to win the Yerba Buena - she has won 3 of 6 starts, including a maiden race in her only time on grass - but Gilchrist isn't sure she's fit enough to go the distance in the Yerba Buena.

"We're trying to run her into shape," Gilchrist said. "She ran a month ago. I got her as ready as I could, and she didn't run that bad just off works. But I can't believe she's ready for her best race yet."

The 1 1/16 miles of the Campanile and the California Oaks is the longest Sky Mystic has run. With her breeding - by Sky Mesa out of the Pleasant Colony mare Delancy - Sky Mystic should be able to handle the distance.

David Lopez, who has ridden Sky Mystic in all six of her starts and rode Wild Promises to victory in the race last year, will get the call.

"A lot of it will be up to the rider," Gilchrist said. "We're going out with winning on our mind, but not at all cost. We'll ask as much as we can of her."

Among her five opponents are Caprice and Restless Soul, the one-two finishers in the 1 1/2-mile La Zanzara on the turf at Santa Anita on Feb. 11. You Lift Me Up, runner-up in the March 14 Work the Crowd here, Exquisite, and Inoplov complete the field.

She's Sensational, fourth behind Wild Promises in last year's Yerba Buena, was expected to start, but trainer John Martin passed on the race after scoping her and discovering throat inflammation.