DEL MAR — Although she had three opponents, Sharp Cat had a race Sunday that wasn't much tougher than her walkover in the Bayakoa Handicap on Dec. 7 at Hollywood Park.
In what was virtually a late afternoon workout, the 4-year-old Storm Cat filly rolled to a 3 1/2-length victory over Supercilious in the $294,000 Chula Vista Handicap.
Perfect in two starts since joining trainer Wally Dollase's barn, Sharp Cat improved to 13 for 20 lifetime for Prince Ahmed Salman's Thoroughbred Corporation. In her last three wins, she has had to beat a grand total of five fillies and mares.
With jockey Corey Nakatani having little to do but guide her in the right direction and make sure he didn't fall off, the 1-5 favorite went right to the front, set moderate fractions and won for the second time at the meeting. A little over a month earlier, she won the Bayakoa Handicap in her first start of 1998.
"She's just awesome," said Nakatani, who won four times Sunday to increase his lead in the jockey standings. "I just tried to get her to relax and when I asked her turning for home, she just went.
"She's a great filly and Wally is doing a great job with her."
Skip Away did the expected Sunday, winning the $500,000 Philip H. Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park to run his win streak to eight.
However, the race was anything but easy for the 5-year-old Skip Trial horse and 1-20 favorite.
Carrying topweight of 131 pounds and making his first start since winning the Hollywood Gold Cup on June 28, Skip Away was headed in deep stretch by 9-1 second choice Stormin Fever, but came back on in the final strides under jockey Jerry Bailey to win by a nose in 1:47 1/5 for the 1 1/8 miles. The final time was two-fifths of a second off the track record.
Stormin Fever, who was in receipt of 18 pounds from the winner, finished nine lengths ahead of Testafly.
The victory was the 17th in 35 lifetime starts for Skip Away and pushed his career earnings to $9,206,360.
Horse Racing Notes
Trainer Ron McAnally became the winningest trainer in Del Mar history when King Clef won Sunday's seventh race. McAnally now has 375 wins in 39 seasons here. He surpassed Farrell Jones, who amassed 374 victories in 22 seasons. . . .Passion Flower was a scratch from the Chula Vista. . . .Manoir D'Anjou became the 10th horse to suffer a fatal injury during the meeting when he broke down during the running of Sunday's fifth race. The 5-year-old gelding was owned by a partnership that included Nancy Clark and was trained by Brent Sumja. An 11th horse, Her Royal Highness, died of an apparent heart attack after running in the first race on Aug. 9. . . .Jockey Alex Solis missed his first four mounts on the card Sunday after he had trouble returning from Saratoga, where he had ridden Victory Gallop to a nose loss in the Travers Stakes the day before.