September 29, 2020

Swiss Skydiver romps in Alabama with Oaks next on the agenda

Swiss Skydiver
Swiss Skydiver dominates the Alabama Stakes (Horsephotos)

Swiss Skydiver chalked up yet another victory on the road to the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1) on Saturday with a dominating triumph in the $500,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, while also securing an automatic bid to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland in November.

A strong favorite in the field of seven, Swiss Skydiver sat second behind the pacesetting Crystal Ball through fractions of :23.55, :47.91, and 1:12.27. Putting that one away around the far turn, Swiss Skydiver opened up on the field turning for home and through the lane, leading by as much as 6 1/2 lengths. After Tyler Gaffalione took his break off the gas in the final yards, Swiss Skydiver’s margin whittled down to a still-impressive 3 1/2 lengths over Bonny South.

Owned by Peter Callahan and trained by Kenny McPeek, Swiss Skydiver covered 1 1/4 miles on a fast track in 2:03.04 and paid $4.30 to win. Finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind Bonny South in third was Harvey’s Lil Goil, with the winner’s stablemate Envoutante in fourth. The order of finish was rounded out by Crystal Ball, Spice Is Nice, and Fire Coral.

This victory, Swiss Skydiver’s fourth of the season, sets up a potentially tantalizing showdown between her and Gamine, dominating winner of the Acorn (G1) and Test (G1), in the 9-furlong Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in three weeks.

Swiss Skydiver has won all over the country this term, previously notching the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), Fantasy (G3), and Santa Anita Oaks (G2). She also qualified for the Kentucky Derby (G1), should connections choose to run, courtesy of a second-place effort to Art Collector in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. She’s now accumulated 450 qualifying points for the Oaks and 40 for the Derby.

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be Oaks,” McPeek said. “Peter and I will sit down and talk about it but we’re leaning pretty hard to the Oaks. Tiz the Law’s race here last week was ultra-impressive and if you hold the two against each other; I’m not sure we want to be up against him yet.”

Bonny South earned 40 additional Oaks points here and sits third on the leaderboard with 150, while Harvey’s Lil Goil’s 20 points pushed her total to 30. She’s presently near the cut off line for Oaks qualifying along with Envoutante, who also has 30 points.

Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm and sold for a mere $35,000 at Keeneland September, Swiss Skydiver was produced by Expo Gold, by Johannesburg. Her record now stands at 9-5-2-1, $952,980.