In his third start off a 51-week freshening, Sky Kingdom
, with Martin
Garcia aboard, made short work of seven rivals in taking Saturday’s
marathon Grade III, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup by 3 ¾ lengths, getting 1 ½
miles on the main track in 2:30.56.
With 25-1 shot Batti Man going to the front, Sky Kingdom, who is
trained by Bob Baffert and who exited two consecutive races going a
flat mile, sat a comfortable second and assumed command with a quarter
mile to run.
“I was outside the speed today. I let my horse break on his own
and just cruised around,” said Garcia. “He relaxed perfectly, and when
I kicked in he just took off. My plan was to let somebody go to the
lead and let my horse sit on the outside and stay comfortable, and that
is exactly the way it went today.”
Off at 5-1, the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Empire Maker paid $12.20, $6.00 and $3.80.
“He looked great today,” said Baffert. “The only spot to run
him was a mile and a half. I didn’t know if he could do it…it’s pretty
exciting. You’re not sure how you’re going to do going in, but the
horse ran so well. He really stepped it up today but he was training
really well…It just worked out great, and he looked so beautiful in the
“…It was a perfect trip for him. He got everything his way.
I’m happy for (winning owners) Westrock. This is my first stakes win
Owned by Arkansas-based Westrock Stables LLC, Sky Kingdom picked
up $60,000 for the win and increased his bankroll to $233,730. With
his first-ever graded stakes victory, Sky Kingdom’s record stands at
Oilisblackgold, an improving 6-year-old gelding by Tapit who is
trained by Craig Dollase, sat fifth past the half mile pole and finished
second with Edwin Maldonado up, 4 ¼ lengths clear of Richard’s Kid and
We’re happy,” said Dollase. “We’re already making plans for
November (in the Grade II Breeders’ Cup Marathon). We’re working
backwards from there.”
Off at 5-1, Oilisblackgold paid $5.40 and $4.00.
A dedicated deep closer, Richard’s Kid added blinkers for the
Tokyo City and was sixth past the half mile pole under Tyler Baze. With
moderate fractions of 24.81, 48.91, 1:13.95, 1:39.75 and 2:05.45 to run
at, Richard’s Kid finished 1 ½ lengths in front of early pacesetter
Batti Man and Victor Espinoza.
Off at 9-2, Richard’s Kid paid $3.60 to show.
Argentine-bred Calidoscopio, who was making his first start
since winning the Breeders’ Cup Marathon on Nov. 2, was off as the 5-2
favorite with Aaron Gryder and finished a non-threatening fifth.
Irish-bred Dhaamer, the second choice with Rafael Bejarano at
5-2, finished three quarters of a length behind Calidoscopio and was
also never a factor.