Skinner – Kentucky Derby Context

April 28th, 2023

Skinner is officially scratched from Kentucky Derby 149 - review other runners here!

A late runner, Skinner enters the Kentucky Derby (G1) on the upswing for a Kentucky Derby-winning trainer.

The bay colt needed four starts to break his maiden, making a couple of appearances against stakes rivals last fall before graduating in mid-February, and he’s gained valuable stakes experience in a pair of starts since then. After breaking poorly in the San Felipe (G2) in early March, Skinner rallied belatedly in the stretch to be a non-threatening third. He advanced upon that effort in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), launching a bold move to reach a threatening position by upper stretch. While he came up a half-length short in third place, it was a strong performance for a progressing three-year-old to build upon. Skinner probably doesn’t want to be too far back in the early stages, and he'll look to make an impact in the final half-mile of the Kentucky Derby.

Top Brisnet Speed: 99

Top Brisnet Late Pace: 107

Owner: Skinner will be the third Kentucky Derby runner for Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable, whose best result came via Honor A. P.’s fourth in 2020. From California, the Searings named the stable in honor of their children, and they’ve won more than 250 races this century.

Trainer: John Shirreffs sent out 50-1 upset winner Giacomo in 2005, his first Kentucky Derby starter, and Skinner will be the Southern California-based trainer’s sixth representative. The 77-year-old trainer started his stable in the late 1970s, and Shirreffs is best known for orchestrating the racing career of Hall of Famer Zenyatta, who won 19 of 20 starts and defeated males in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Jockey: The leading rider at the recently-concluded Santa Anita winter/spring meet, 31-year-old Juan Hernandez will pick up the mount on Skinner and make his first appearance in the Kentucky Derby. The Mexico native also led all riders at the 2021-22 Santa Anita winter/spring meet. Hernandez moved his tack from Northern California to Southern California in 2020.

Breeder/Sales: Bred in Kentucky by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Farm, Skinner will be the fifth Kentucky Derby starter as a breeder for Stonestreet, who bred and co-owned 2018 Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic. After bringing a $40,000 sales price as a yearling, Skinner sold for $510,000 as a two-year-old at the 2022 OBS April sale.

Sire: Two-time Horse of Year Curlin finished a rallying third when making his fourth career start in the 2007 Kentucky Derby. He won the Preakness (G1) two weeks later, eventually earning more than $10.5 million from 16 starts. The Hall of Famer has carried his legacy to stud, leading all North American sires by Grade 1 winners in 2021 and 2022, with his progeny including champions Malathaat and Nest last year. By Smart Strike, Curlin has produced Preakness winner Exaggerator and Belmont G1) winner Palace Malice, while runners-up Exaggerator and Good Magic rank as Curlin's top Kentucky Derby finishers. Curlin had his mark on last year’s 80-1 Kentucky Derby upset as his son, Keen Ice, sired the victorious Rich Strike. Curlin stands at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Paris, Ky. He’s also responsible for 2023 Kentucky Derby contender Lord Miles.

Dam: A Grade 3-winning sprinter, Winding Way is a daughter of Malibu Moon, and Skinner is the first stakes-placed runner from her three foals to start. Winding Way is out of the turf stakes-winning sprinter More Than Pretty, who is also the dam of multiple Grade 2-winning sprinter Kauai Katie, so there’s speed on the female side of Skinner’s bloodlines. Meanwhile, Malibu Moon provides stamina, having producing 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb. As a broodmare sire, Malibu Moon is responsible for 2021 Preakness runner-up Midnight Bourbon and 2015 champion three-year-old filly Stellar Wind.

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