By Bill Finley
Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) has been nominated for both the GI Central Bank Ashland S. and GII Toyota Blue Grass S., both to be run July 11 at Keeneland, and trainer Ken McPeek said he will give strong consideration to both races for his 3-year-old filly.
“I'll probably run her in the Ashland, but there are a lot of things to consider,” McPeek said. “For one, I have another nice filly for the Ashland in Envoutante (Uncle Mo). With all these 3-year-old races being run around the same time, I'd imagine the field for the Blue Grass will be a little diluted. There's also the weights. She carried 124 in her last start (win in the GII Santa Anita Oaks) and she'd only have to carry 118 if she were to go in the Blue Grass. Most of the colts in the race are going to have to jump up in weight. Who's to say how much of a factor that would be. A filly has never won the Blue Grass so it would be a nice achievement.”
Other factors include the purses of each race and their grades. The Blue Grass is a $600,000 race but a Grade II. The Ashland purse is $400,000 and the race is a Grade I.
“Winning a Grade I is important with a filly,” McPeek said. Swiss Skydiver has won three graded races but has yet to notch a Grade I victory.
McPeek said he will not make his decision until the day of entry and will keep an eye on what horses are going in each race.
“We'll do our research and figure it out,” he said. “An old-timer once told me don't make an important decision until you absolutely have to. If there's going to be 14 in the Blue Grass and just six or seven in the Ashland we'll probably go in the Ashland. If the size of both fields is going to be about the same we can wait and make our decision when it is time to enter.”
A start in the Blue Grass could open up the doors for additional starts against males for Swiss Skydiver. A win would give her 100 Kentucky Derby points, more than enough to get into the field for what will be the second leg of the Triple Crown this year. Swiss Skydiver is nominated to the Triple Crown.
After showing little in her first two starts this year, Swiss Skydiver won the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks by 3 1/4 lengths and followed that with a win in the GIII Fantasy S. at Oaklawn. With Mike Smith aboard, she won the Santa Anita Oaks by four lengths.