May 25, 2024

Skelly speeds to Count Fleet Sprint repeat

Skelly wins the Count Fleet Sprint at Oaklawn Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Last seen finishing second in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint (G3) seven weeks ago, Skelly showed no signs of jet lag and dominated Saturday’s $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) at Oaklwan Park for the second consecutive year, scoring comfortably by a three-length margin.

Steve Asmussen trains the five-year-old gelding for Red Lane Thoroughbreds and Skelly quickly made the front after the break, widening his advantage while cruising through opening splits in :21.52 and :43.88. The dark bay son of Practical Joke drew off by nearly five lengths in upper stretch, finishing six furlongs in 1:08.82 with regular rider Ricardo Santana Jr.

After having a seven-race win streak snapped in his previous start, Skelly won for the seventh time from nine starts at Oaklawn, improving his overall record to 14-9-4-0 with earnings of more than $1.46 million. The five-time stakes winner left the starting gate as the odds-on favorite among seven rivals.

The next test will be taking his game on the road, Skelly has made only one start outside Oaklawn since 2022, winning the Speightstown Sprint at Lone Star Park last May. He did break his maiden the second time out at Churchill Downs, romping by open lengths, and the $1 million Churchill Downs Sprint (G1) on the May 4 Kentucky Derby undercard will be an option for his next start.

Bred in Kentucky by H. Allen Poindexter, Skelly was purchased for $250,000 as a yearling. He’s the first stakes winner from the unraced Bwana Charlie mare Adande, a half-sister to graded stakes winners Giant Game and Isotherm.

Tejano Twist rallied to be a non-threatening second as the 2.90-1 second choice, 1 1/2 lengths better than Happy Is a Choice in third. Next came Ryvit, Jaxon Traveler, Perfect Dude, and I’m Wide Awake.