Hidden Brook Recommended Buy Skywire Soars in G2 Eclipse Stakes

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Skywire, the beaten favorite in last year's Queen's Plate at Woodbine, regained his best form in his third outing as a 4-year-old with a victory in the July 4 Eclipse Stakes (G2).

The Mark Casse-trained gelding, racing for Gary Barber and Lucio Tucci, who purchased the son of dual Classic champion Afleet Alex on advice of the Hidden Brook Fam team.

Skywire lagged behind the frontrunners early in the 1 1/16-mile test on Tapeta, then came with a late run while wide to power past Avie's Flatter inside the sixteenth pole. The winning margin was 1 1/4 lengths and the final time on a fast track was 1:44.12. Mr Ritz, the odds-on favorite, was 2 1/2 lengths farther back in third.

 "The numbers don't count here," Hernandez said of the odds after the race. "Mark Casse put the horse in here because he belongs."

It was the third score in the Eclipse for Casse, having won last year with Souper Tapit and in 2006 with Arch Hall.

"We had a good pace with two horses going for the lead, and I was sitting behind the 2 (Avie's Flatter) and it set up perfect," said Hernandez. "I tracked him and got clear in the stretch and let him go. He really turned it on and kept going."

The pace was modest—:25.16 for the opening quarter-mile and :48.32 for the half as Uncle Bull (also trained by Casse for Barber and John Oxley) broke sharply from the rail and set the tempo. Uncle Bull was shadowed by Mr Ritz with a confident Patrick Husbands aboard. Down the backstretch Mr Ritz challenged early while Cooler Mike, Journeyman, Avie's Flatter, and Skywire loped behind.

The tempo quickened as Avie's Flatter joined the fray up front on the turn after six panels in 1:12.17. Hernandez and Skywire still waited and came with a wide move into the lane. As Mr Ritz failed to fire, Avie's Flatter took a commanding lead, but after a mile in 1:37.48, Skywire was moving best of all.

The winner paid $36.10 after being 2-1 in last year's Queen's Plate.

Skywire was bred in Ontario by the late William Graham. Out of the unraced Gone West mare Meandering Stream (whose second dam is Canadian blue hen No Class).

After going from second-to-last to first in his debut in December 2018, Skywire won an allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream Park to kick off his 2019 season, later adding the Wando Stakes at Woodbine, and was a runner-up in the Marine Stakes (G3) prior to the Queen's Plate. Off since a poor fifth-place effort in the July 23 Prince of Wales Stakes, he was mid-pack on the turf in a March 18 start at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

The Eclipse win moves his mark to 4-1-0 from 10 starts and earnings of $249,827.

Skywire is the second stakes success for Hidden Brook in three days after Fifty Five added to her $1 million-plus bankroll by winning the $100,000 Mt. Vernon Stakes at Belmont Park on July 2. The daughter of Get Stormy was raised at Hidden Brook Farm.

 -edited from www.woodbine.com