Sky Kingdom hoping third time's the charm in Cougar II

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 20th, 2015

If there's a horse who should appreciate Del Mar's return to a dirt surface, it might by Sky Kingdom. The Bob Baffert-trained son of Empire Maker will attempt for a third time to win the $100,000 Cougar II H. (G3) on Friday.

The beaten favorite in the last two editions of the Cougar II, contested over 1 1/2 miles on the former Polytrack, Sky Kingdom figures to have a stronger chance now that the Del Mar main track has been changed back to dirt. No match when second to synthetic specialists Richard's Kid and Irish Surf the past two years, Sky Kingdom has done his best work on dirt with back-to-back wins in Santa Anita's Tokyo City Cup (G3) and a stakes score at Los Alamitos highlighting his career.

Third most recently in the Brooklyn (G2) at Belmont Park, Sky Kingdom will be joined by stablemate Cat Burglar. Third in the Pimlico Special (G3) and Brooklyn last year, Cat Burglar was only third in this year's Pimlico Special and was an outclassed fifth in the Stephen Foster H. (G1) last time.

Bailoutbobby trailed a field of eight in the Californian (G2) last out, but was second best behind Sky Kingdom in the March 28 Tokyo City Cup and should enjoy the class relief. Big John B, last year's Del Mar H. (G2) winner, should have no problems with the distance but has gone unplaced in all three previous attempts on dirt.

Also among the field is the Peter Miller-trained pair of Lideris and Solid Wager, both of whom have form to find to upset the above quartet.

(Sky Kingdom photo: Benoit Photos)