02/25/2003 12:00AM

Skywalker has fatal attack


MIAMI - Skywalker, the 1986 Breeders' Cup Classic winner and sire of champion Bertrando, died of a heart attack Tuesday at Arthur Hancock III's Stone Farm in Paris, Ky. He was 21.

Skywalker had stood at Stone Farm since 1996. He was also foaled and raised at the farm and will be buried there.

Skywalker was a son of Relaunch and the stakes-winning Boldnesian mare Bold Captive. His five graded stakes wins included a pair of Grade 1 victories, one in the Classic, when he defeated Turkoman, and the other in the 1985 Santa Anita Derby. He also won the Grade 2 Longacres Mile and Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, and the Grade 3 San Diego Handicap in 1986.

Trained by Michael Whittingham for owner and breeder Oak Cliff Thoroughbreds, Skywalker ran for four seasons and retired in 1987 with a career record of 20-8-3-3 and more than $2.2 million in earnings.

Skywalker also had a successful career at stud. His progeny include Bertrando, the 1993 champion older male who was runner-up in the 1993 Breeders' Cup Classic; Grade 2 winners Supercilious and Labamta Babe; and other stakes winners such as Spinelessjellyfish, Michigan Bluff, and Sky Terrace. At the time of his death, Skywalker had total progeny earnings of more than $23 million from 14 crops to race.