12/21/2010 3:18PM

Skyline Lover comes back quick in Quarter Horse stakes


Skyline Lover, a stakes winner in each of his last two starts, will try to make it three in a row while stretching out in distance and coming back on short rest in Friday’s $20,000 Crystal River Stakes for Quarter Horses at Hialeah Park.

The Crystal River, which will be contested on a straightaway at the infrequently-run distance of 660 yards, goes as race 7 on an eight-race Christmas Eve card that begins at 2:05 p.m. Eastern. Hialeah and Parx Racing are the only two racetracks in the United States to offer live racing on the day before Christmas.

Skyline Lover, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Matt Frazier, came out of a series of graded stakes at Prairie Meadows to get up by a neck in the All American Congress Maturity, a 440-yard stakes at Beulah Park, in October. He returned on Dec. 11 to draw clear by a length, covering 550 yards in 26.85 seconds while racing into a headwind in the Orange Blossom Stakes at Hialeah. Friday’s race will be the longest in Skyline Lover’s career. He is 7 for 21 with earnings of $143,794 – the most wins and highest earnings in the Crystal River lineup.

His two most intriguing opponents in a field of nine appear to be the 5-year-old mare Shesa Gottum Beat and the 3-year-old colt Winning Gol.

Shesa Gottum Beat broke a nine-race losing streak when she held on by a neck going the same distance as Friday’s race in a first-level optional claimer on the same Dec. 11 card as Skyline Lover. She gets a rider switch to Jesus Salazar.

Winning Gol made a late move to finish two lengths behind Shesa Gottum Beat while making his first start since September. He is eligible to improve in the second start of his current form cycle. His trainer, Brad Bolen, ranks second in the standings with 7 wins since the meet began on Dec. 3 and will be ridden by the meet’s third leading rider, Cody Wainscott.