Sunday, August 16, 2020

FLA-Connected Swiss Skydiver Wins Alabama

Swiss Skydiver took the lead from Crystal Ball in the far turn and drew away without heavy urging to win by 3 1/4 lengths in Saturday's $500,000 Alabama Stakes (Grade 1) at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Swiss Skydiver, a filly loaded with Florida human connections, won in 2:03.04 leaving some "gas in the tank" for a likely run in the Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1) that will be at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 4 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Bonny South passed three horses in the stretch to finish second in the 1 1/4 mile dirt stakes for 3-YO fillies. Harvey's Little Goil finished third and Crystal Ball finished fifth in the seven-horse Alabama field.

Swiss Skydiver, the even money favorite, won for the fourth time in a graded stakes race this year.

The first of those wins was in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (Grade 2) on March 28. 

Peter Callahan, who owns Swiss Skydiver, lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Ken McPeek, who trains Swiss Skydiver, and Tyler Gaffalione, who rode her in the Alabama, are both regulars at Gulfstream's annual championship meets.

Swiss Skydiver leads in Kentucky  Oaks qualifying points and would be among favorites for that race.

However, McPeek has not ruled out instead running her in the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) on Sept. 5.

Swiss Skydiver, a daughter of Daredevil, has 40 Kentucky Derby  qualifying points--earned from a second place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes (Grade 2) at Keeneland on July 11.

She is 13th on the points list for the Kentucky Derby--which can have 20 entrants.

"I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the Oaks,” McPeek said after the Alabama. 

He said that he and Callahan will soon "sit down about it."

McPeek added: "Tiz the Law’s race here last week (victory in the 1 1/4 mileTravers) was ultra-impressive, and if you hold the two against each other I’m not sure we want to be up against him just yet. Maybe in the Preakness.”

The 1 3/16 mile Preakness will be run Oct. 3 at Pimlico in Baltimore.

Because of coronavirus-related schedule shuffling, the Preakness will be this year's third race in the Triple Crown.

The usual schedule is Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes.

Tiz the Law won the Belmont, this year at 1 1/8 miles, at Belmont Park on June 20.

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HorseRacing FLA staff