Skyring Wins Dixie Stakes; Stablemate Optimizer Third
Four-year-old SKYRING (English Channel) hadn't tasted victory in a year but that wasn't going to hold him back in the $300,000 Dixie Stakes (G2), run an hour before the May 18 Preakness Stakes (G1) where the same connections would find success.
Facing off against 10 competitors, Skyring broke well from the number eight hole and quickly moved forward to take the lead. The bay colt worked his way over to the rail and set a comfortable pace while his stablemate, Optimizer (English Channel), tracked him in third. Racing through marks of :24 2/5, :48 1/5 and 1:11 4/5, Skyring had opened up a nice advantage by the time he clicked through a mile in 1:35 3/5. With his stablemate and two others gearing up for their runs, though, Skyring had to dig deep to maintain an advantage to the wire, streaking under the line a half-length in front. He completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 4/5 over the firm Pimlico turf course.
Optimizer, trapped behind his stablemate and along the rail for most of the event, made his move late when he had an opening in the stretch and looked to have second secured but a late closer nipped him at the line. The colt, who not only shares the same trainer as the winner but also the same owner/breeder, crossed the line a head back in third.
Skyring, who won last year's James W. Murphy Stakes on the Preakness undercard, now has four wins from 20 starts and earnings of nearly $425,000. In addition to his stakes win last year, the Seattle Slew grandson also ran second in the Saranac Stakes (G3) and finished third in both the American Derby (G3) and River City Handicap (G3).
Bred in Kentucky, Skyring was produced from Seattle Slew's daughter Violet Lady. Violet Lady didn't find success on the track, but she has more than made up for that in the breeding shed. The dam of 12 named foals, Violet Lady has produced three stakes winners and three additional stakes horses. Caballero Negro (Formal Gold) was her first stakes winner. Greenspring (Orientate), a Grade 2 winner, was her second stakes winner. Her stakes horses are all fillies: Loow Key (Pine Bluff), Dyna Penny (Dynaformer) and Dressed to Kill (Formal Gold). Violet Lady's most recent offspring are an unnamed two-year-old full sister to Skyring and a yearling colt by Point Given (Thunder Gulch).
Congratulations to Skyring, owner Calumet Farm, breeder Bluegrass Hall, trainer D. Wayne Lukas, jockey Gary Stevens and the rest of the colt's connections. The Slew Crew wishes you continued success.