Ken McPeek

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

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...

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This Side Up: A Daring Stand For Gender Equality

In theory, all horses are created equal. Then stuff happens. Between their genes, accidents of life, and the designs of those who raise and train them, they develop strengths and flaws. And we end up, like George Orwell's pigs, with "some animals more equal than others." After hundreds of years of observation, however, we have concluded that one half of the breed is born with an athletic superiority over the other. And we duly grant Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) a five-pound concession for daring to square up to males in the...

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Swiss Skydiver to Take on Boys in the Blue Grass

The filly Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) will be out to make history Saturday when she takes on males in the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland. No filly has ever won the prestigious race. Trainer Kenny McPeek had nominated Swiss Skydiver for both the Blue Grass and the GI Ashland S. for fillies. He waited until Wednesday morning, shortly before the draw, to make his decision. He said a major factor was that he has another filly for the Ashland in Envoutante (Uncle Mo). "In any other year, this would...

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Blue Grass a Possibility for Swiss Skydiver

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...

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Swiss Skydiver Too Strong In Santa Anita Oaks

Swiss Skydiver continued her climb to the top of the sophomore filly division with her third straight graded victory in the GII Santa Anita Oaks. Favored while facing just three rivals here, the chestnut broke on top from her rail draw and clocked an opening quarter in :22.92 and a half in :46.55 with Merneith hot on her heels in second. Simply cantering along with ears pricked and on a loose rein, Swiss Skydiver opened up in the lane under a hand ride from Mike Smith for a facile victory....

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Sky High in the Oaks

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...

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Among Kentucky Trainers, No Consensus On New Lasix Rules

Though he won one of two races for 2-year-olds held last week at Churchill Downs, trainer John Hancock had hoped to do better. A day after the filly Hopeful Princess (Not This Time) broke her maiden, stablemate Cuz (Ironicus) finished seventh in a maiden race for juvenile colts. Hancock said he believes the reason Cuz didn't fare better was because he was, under new rules in place at Churchill, not allowed to run on Lasix. "[Cuz] is an exceptionably nice colt," Hancock said. "We scoped him and he showed signs...

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Swiss Skydiver Rerouting to Santa Anita Oaks

Recent GIII Fantasy S. winner Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil), previously considered for a run in the G1 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in England June 6, will instead stay Stateside and point to the GI Santa Anita Oaks the same day, trainer Ken McPeek said on Twitter Sunday. McPeek cited logistical concerns and a purse reduction among the reasons he's choosing to keep his pupil in America for her next start. The Peter Callahan colorbearer worked a half-mile over the Keeneland turf in :51 flat (8/9) Saturday. "She handled her turf workout...

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Skydiver’s Bargain Dam Looking Heaven-Sent

As we all know, especially right now, life will sometimes present challenges so terrible that the racetrack can be made to seem a pretty frivolous place. Yet there are also times when only a horse can kindle consolation from the embers of disaster. Clay Murdock was 58 when he died in his sleep last September. The general manager of Rancho San Miguel in California had just sealed a deal for the Northern Hemisphere breeding rights to Sir Prancealot (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}), and was buzzing for the future. His loss, out...

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Swiss Skydiver May Run in 1,000 Guineas

With so few options immediately available for 3-year-old fillies, trainer Ken McPeek may get adventurous with Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil), the winner of Friday's GIII Fantasy S. at Oaklawn. McPeek told the TDN that he is considering running his filly next in the G1 1,000 Guineas in Newmarket, England. "We're going to nominate her to the 1,000 Guineas and do our due diligence," McPeek said. "She might be at a competitive advantage because she has been running.  It would be a historic trip. I don't think anybody has ever done it....

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Saturday’s Insights: $800K Tapit Colt Returns at GP

5th-GP, $45K, Msw, 3yo, 7ff, 2:46 p.m. ET Shadwell Stables' ASHIHAM (Tapit), an $800,000 Keeneland September yearling, debuts for trainer Todd Pletcher after finishing an even fourth in his career bow for Kiaran McLaughlin going six furlongs at the Hallandale oval Feb. 29. The chestnut is out of Wine Princess (Ghostzapper), a graded stakes winning daughter of Hall of Famer Azeri (Jade Hunter). At Pletcher's Palm Beach Downs training base, the May foal worked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 Apr. 18. Jockey Luis Saez, whose book is now managed by...

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Daredevil Filly Pulls Off Gulfstream Park Oaks Theft

Swiss Skydiver sprung a mild upset Saturday with a wire-to-wire victory in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, earning points towards a start in the GI Kentucky Oaks in September. Seizing the early advantage, the 9-1 shot cruised through opening splits of :24.33 and :49.12, shadowed by Lucrezia. Showing the way into the lane, the chestnut kept on finding in the lane, pulling clear of her competition to win as she pleased. Lucrezia gamely fended off a late challenge from Lake Avenue to be second. Previously unbeaten favorite Tonalist's Shape (Tonalist) finished...

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