She found a pair of rivals too tough in an excursion to New Orleans last month, but Swiss Skydiver proved too good for her fellow South Florida-based rivals Saturday when springing a 9-1 upset in the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).
Despite having shown little early foot in four previous runs, Swiss Skydiver was nonetheless sent to the front early on by jockey Paco Lopez. She established an easy lead and proceeded to set a slow pace of :24.33, :49.12, and 1:13.30 over a fast strip.
“Paco is what I’d call a lead-forward type of jock. We jumped her out of the gate a few times to get her to leave there a little quicker. That’s kind of his natural style, so I pretty much left it to him,” trainer Kenny McPeek said.
Chased most of the way by Lucrezia, Swiss Skydiver turned back a challenge from that rival entering the short stretch and won comfortably by 3 1/3 lengths. Lucrezia edged Lake Avenue by a nose for second, with 105–1 chance Bajan Girl another half-length behind in fourth.
The order of finish was rounded out by Spice Is Nice, Dream Marie, 19-10 favorite Tonalist’s Shape, Spartanka, Mrs. S, Inveterate, Sunset Promise, and Addilyn.
Owned by Peter Callahan, Swiss Skydiver paid $20.20 after completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.54.
As part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series, the Gulfstream Park Oaks awarded qualifying points of 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers. Swiss Skydiver boosted her total to 110 points following a third-pace effort behind Finite and champion British Idiom in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds.
Lucrezia, who previously won the Suncoast S. at Tampa Bay Downs, boosted her total to 50 points, while Demoiselle (G2) winner Lake Avenue now has 30 points. Bajan Girl, coming off a maiden turf win, earned her first 10 points of the series.
This was the first stakes win for Swiss Skydiver, who won debut at Churchill Downs by more than five lengths last November going 7 furlongs. Wheeled back in two weeks, she finished a close second in a 1-mile allowance over the same track. Swiss Skydiver was a narrowly-beaten fifth in the 7-furlong Gasparilla S. at Tampa Bay Downs to open her 3-year-old campaign prior to the Rachel Alexandra.
Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm and a $35,000 Keeneland September purchase, Swiss Skydiver is by Daredevil and out of Expo Gold, by Johannesburg. She’s now earned $197,980.