Field of 13, Headed by Filly Swiss Skydiver, Set for Blue Grass

Swiss Skydiver | Coady

Peter Callahan's streaking Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) will take her shot at the GI Kentucky Derby trail as she faces males for the first time in a loaded field of 13 set for Saturday's GII Toyota Blue Grass S. Keeneland.

No filly has won the Blue Grass and only one (Harriet Sue finished fifth in 1944) has run in the race since it debuted during the track's inaugural spring meet in April 1937.

Swiss Skydiver, trained by Ken McPeek, certainly has the credentials. She's won her last three starts in impressive fashion at three different racetracks-the GII Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Oaks Mar. 28, the GIII Fantasy S. at Oaklawn May 1 and the GII Santa Anita Oaks June 6. She earned a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure while defeating GI Central Bank Ashland S. 6-5 morning-line favorite Venetian Harbor (Munnings) in the Fantasy.

“[Swiss Skydiver is] doing super,” McPeek said of the 3-1 morning-line favorite. “She gets weight [five pounds] from all these colts. I think she's going to like the added distance. I like the mile and an eighth better than the mile and a sixteenth [distance of the Ashland]. It'll be exciting.”

Art Collector (Bernardini) gets tested for class following a pair of eye-catching victories, including a 6 1/2-length, front-running romp over subsequent good-looking GIII Indiana Derby victor Shared Sense (Street Sense) in an optional claimer going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs June 13.

“He had to earn his way into this spot,” trainer Tom Drury Jr. said. “There was a question if he really wants to go two turns, but he checked that box and did it maybe with an exclamation point. He drew away at the end and had his ears up while galloping out afterwards. It is time to jump in to the deep end of the pool and see how he stacks up against this kind.”

Mr. Big News (Giant's Causeway), a decent fifth in the split-division GII Risen Star S. Feb. 15, made some big headlines upsetting the Oaklawn S. with a come-from-behind victory at odds of 46-1 last out Apr. 11.

“A lot of people aren't going to believe in him, they think that [the Oaklawn S.] was basically a fluke,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “So yeah, he's got to prove it to everybody. You know, we're seeing him in the mornings, he's proven to us in the afternoons, this is another step forward, and he's a really royal-bred horse and I think he's going to prove himself.”

Basin (Liam's Map), winner of last summer's GI Runhappy Hopeful S. at Saratoga, followed a fourth-place finish behind Mr. Big News in the Oaklawn S. with a well-beaten second to the talented Charlatan (Speightstown) in the GI Arkansas Derby May 2.

Rushie (Liam's Map), a popular optional claiming winner at the Oaklawn meeting, far from disgraced himself with a solid third behind heavyweights Honor A. P. (Honor Code) and Authentic (Into Mischief) in the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby June 6.

The Blue Grass offers 100-40-20-10 qualification points toward to this year's Kentucky Derby.

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