Skole wins!

10 Jan 2019

     Skole completed an unlikely journey shortly before Christmas when he led wire-to-wire in winning a straight maiden turf sprint at Gulfstream Park on December 22.  Skole is the first foal of imported mare Athenian, which we purchased in foal to Oasis Dream at the Tattersalls sale in 2015. 

     Skole has always been a good looking specimen, but faced an unusual set of circumstances growing up and almost didn't make it.  One day, when he was only several months old, a fast growing fibrotic growth appeared on his lower jaw, probably as a result of him having been kicked by another horse in the field.  That culprit has not yet been identified.  A surgery was performed to remove the golfball sized growth, but it immediately returned. A second surgery was similarly unsuccessful.

    As it turns out, a handful of these cases have been reported over the past decade.  The few non-fatal cases involved breeding mares and required a radical removal of the lower jaw or a major portion thereof.  Never did we hear of a foal surviving the condition.

     When it became clear that a third surgey was his only hope, Dr. Gary Priest decided to take a more radical approach than previous procedures and removed a large amount of tissue around the growth in the lower jaw.  If the tumor returned, Skole was doomed, since any further surgery would leave him unable to eat or graze.

     Miraculously, the growth never returned, but the procedures left him with a hanging lower lip- which led to his nickname "Skoal" after the chewing tobacco.  Our apologies to producers of Skoal, but we were able to secure the phonetic equivalent "Skole" as his racing name.  Unsalable as a yearling, and with his ability to withstand a bit in his mouth and training in doubt, we decided to take a shot on him and see if he could make it as a racehorse, despite his issues.

     His first test was in starting with Mickey Preger Jr. down in Camden.  He never missed a beat.  From there, he went to the care of Arnaud Delacour, where he has trained enthusiastically and forwardly throughout.  Arnaud entered him multiple times since the late fall, looking for a turf sprint, but the weather and other factors conspired to keep delaying his debut.  Finally, a spot opened up going two turns and in a race that was clearly beyond his ideal distance, Skole finished up the track after pressing the pace for six furlongs.  Based on this effort, he was dismissed at 10-1 when he finally got to do what he is meant to- spint on the turf.  A $22.40 win mutual was the result.

     Skole led all the way after carving out fast fractions of 22.0 and 45.1.  Final time for the five furlongs was 57.45.  Let's hope Skole continues to surprise on the upside.  He is sound and loves to train.  He's a miraculous story.

     Athenian has a foal of 2017 by Speightstown that was sold at Tattersalls as a yearling.  She has a Ghostzapper filly of 2018 and is back in foal to Kittens Joy.

Skole wins!