Peter Callahan’s streaking Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) headlines a compact field of five set for Saturday’s GII Santa Anita Oaks.
The rail-drawn chestnut ships in from trainer Ken McPeek’s Kentucky base after posting a pair of impressive upsets in the GII Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Oaks Mar. 28 and GIII Fantasy S. at Oaklawn May 1, respectively. She earned a field-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure after stalking and pouncing and defeating the talented Venetian Harbor (Munnings) by 2 1/2 lengths in the latter. Hall of Famer Mike Smith picks up the mount for the first time.
Merneith (American Pharoah) broke through with a double-digit score going six furlongs in the Oaklawn slop at third asking Apr. 19. The $600,000 OBS March graduate, second in her first two attempts earlier this term at Santa Anita, is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.
“That filly, I love her,” Baffert said. “She’s such a good filly and she looks the part. She looks like Pharoah. These Pharoahs, you have to wait on them and they’re going to come running.”
Speech (Mr Speaker) has hooked a trio of talented fillies while completing the exacta in her last three starts, including a runner-up finish behind ‘TDN Rising Star’ Donna Veloce (Uncle Mo) in the GIII Santa Ysabel S. Mar. 8 and a neck defeat to unbeaten ‘TDN Rising Star’ Gamine (Into Mischief) in an optional claimer at Oaklawn May 2. Gamine topped last year’s Fasig- Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale at $1.8 million.
There are 170 GI Kentucky Oaks qualifying points at stake in the Santa Anita Oaks (100-40-20-10).